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Centre issues showcause notice to former Bengal chief secretary for not attending PM’s meeting

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The tussle between Centre and West Bengal government over former chief secretary Alapan Bandyopadhyay continues. After the bureaucrat refused to follow the Centre’s recall order and tendered his resignation on Monday, the Union government has now issued a showcause notice to him for not attending the meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Notably, PM Modi was recently in Bengal to review the impact of cyclone Yaas that wreaked havoc in Odisha and West Bengal. However, in a major embarrassment for the PM, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, as well as Bandyopadhyay, did not attend the meeting.

This resulted in a fresh tussle, with the Centre asking the bureaucrat to report in Delhi on Monday. However, Mamata refused to release the bureaucrat saying his services are required in Bengal that is battling the COVID-19 pandemic.

Showcause notice to former chief secretary

As per the showcause notice, Bandyopadhyay has been asked to explain his absence from PM Modi’s review meeting on the impact of cyclone Yaas in Bengal. The notice has been provided under the Disaster Management Act and Alapan Bandyopadhyay has been asked to reply to it within three days.

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The law says it is the state government that can take disciplinary action against an officer working under the state, but in this case, the notice follows the argument that the chief secretary “refused to attend” a review meeting called by the Centre.

New role for Alapan Bandyopadhyay

After retiring on Monday, the 1987 batch IAS officer started working as the chief advisor to the chief minister from Tuesday onwards. He has been appointed for a period of three years.

Justifying his appointment, Mamata Banerjee had on Monday said, “Alapan Bandyopadhyay will join as the chief advisor to the CM from tomorrow. We want his services for the pandemic. Everybody knows how he worked and that is why we are safe today. He must continue his service to Bengal and the country.”

Notably, the bureaucrat has come to be known as the face of Bengal’s fight against the deadly viral pandemic.

 

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