New finance secy for UT: Punjab proposes names of three babus

The Punjab government is all set to clear the panel of three Punjab cadre IAS officers to be sent on deputation to Chandigarh for the post of Secretary (Finance). The three officers include Paramjit Singh Aujla, a 1990-batch officer; Ashok Gupta, a 1991-batch officer and Rakesh Kumar Verma, a 1993 batch IAS officer. While Aujla and Gupta were inducted to the IAS cadre; Rakesh Kumar Verma is a direct recruit.

Sources disclosed that a lot of lobbying was on in the state of Punjab by the officers for getting their names included in the panel. The initial panel prepared by the Punjab government included names of IAS officers VK Singh and Anjali Bhawara, which have now been dropped. Anjali Bhawara, a 1988 batch IAS officer, has recently been empanelled as Joint Secretary in Government of India.

Out of the three officers, who names are likely to be sent in the panel, PS Aujla and Ashok Gupta, both have served in Chandigarh as Punjab Civil Services (PCS) officers in the initial years of their service. While PS Aujla remained in Chandigarh as Sub-Divisional Magistrate, followed by Assistant Estate Officer; he also served in Chandigarh Municipal Corporation as Commissioner, after he got inducted to the IAS cadre. Ashok Gupta too served in Chandigarh as a Sub-Divisional Magistrate, while he was a PCS officer. Aujla is presently holding the post of Secretary (Public Health, Water Supply, Sanitation and Sports); while Ashok Gupta is posted as Secretary (Agriculture) in Punjab.

The third contender in the race, Rakesh Kumar Verma is present posted as Managing Director, Punjab Infotech and had earlier served as Deputy Commissioner Kapurthala and Patiala. As the panel is yet to be finalised and sent to Chandigarh Administration by the Punjab government, sources disclosed that the officers in Punjab are leaving no stones unturned to get their names included in the panel. The post of Secretary (Finance) is considered to be the third most coveted posts in the Chandigarh Administration's bureaucratic setup, after the posts of Adviser to Administrator and Secretary (Home). The tenure of present Secretary (Finance) Sanjay Kumar ends in January, 2011.

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