No DM, SP in Naxal-hit Sonbhadra

The mineral-rich district also does not have DMO, DFO

Sonbhadra district in Uttar Pradesh has a dubious distinction. For more than three months now, it has been without a district magistrate (DM).

Ever since IAS officer Suhas L Y, the last DM, was transferred on September 22, the government has not posted anyone. Instead, Chief Development Officer Ram Krishan Uttam, who is a PCS officer, has been holding the charge.

That is not all. Sonbhadra is one of the Naxal-affected districts of the state. It has the highest mineral reserves and the largest forest cover. Yet, it does not have a superintendent of police (SP), a district forest officer (DFO), and a district mining officer (DMO), although these posts haven't been vacant for so long as that of the district magistrate.

Interestingly, Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav is home minister, forest as well as mining minister.

In the nine months since the Akhilesh government took over, Sonbhadra has seen a regular DM only for four months. For the remaining five months, some junior officer held the charge. Within 15 days of taking charge, the Samajwadi Party government removed District Magistrate Vijay Vishwas Pant, but posted no successor. It was after more than one and a half month on May 22 that Suhas L Y was posted as DM. Exactly after four months on September 22, he was transferred out.

Rajeev Kumar, Principal Secretary of Appointment and Personnel, said Sonbhadra was without DM because "we are short of IAS officers, now that several of them have been promoted from PCS, we will soon post one of them".

However, he had no answer as to why Sobhadra was singled out for such treatment. "There were three-four such districts and now only Sonbhadra is left. A proposal for appointment of a DM will be sent soon to the CM's office," he said.

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