Lakshadweep MP objects, Shinde transfers top island official

Following a representation from local Congress MP Hamdullah Sayeed, Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde has replaced the serving administrator of Lakshadweep with another IAS officer.

Amar Nath, a 1994-batch officer of the AGMU cadre (also known as UT cadre), has been recalled to Delhi and replaced with H Rajesh Prasad, a 1995-batch IAS officer of the same cadre who was serving in Delhi. Rajesh took charge as administrator of Lakshadweep — who is the highest administrative officer on the islands — on November 7. Nath, who was transferred before his Lakshadweep tenure was complete, has reportedly gone on leave.

Contrary to norms, say sources, Shinde did not seek the opinion of his officers and did not even move a file on the matter. Instead, a simple directive was issued from the minister's office saying Nath be replaced with some other officer. Sources said Home Ministry officers who tried to urge Shinde to reconsider were overruled.

Sayeed told The Indian Express that there was "resentment" amongst the "general public" against Nath because of some measures he had taken and that he had conveyed the same to Shinde as he was the MP from the area.

According to the MP, two proposals in particular had made Nath unpopular in Lakshadweep. "There was a move by the administration to lower the compensation for land, which is strange because land prices all over the country are appreciating. And for most people in Lakshadweep, selling off land is always a distress situation. There was another proposal by the administration to raise average domestic electricity charges. There were many complaints. So I conveyed the peoples' sentiment to the Home Ministry and requested a change," he said.

The 30-year-old Sayeed — son of late Congress leader P M Sayeed, who represented Lakshadweep seven times in the Lok Sabha — is one of the youngest MPs in the current Lok Sabha.

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