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Election Commission asks for panel of names for Janjgir and Dhamtari

Raipur, September 5, 2008: The Chief Election Commission has asked the Chhattisgarh Government to provide a panel of names for Janjgir-Champa and Dhamtari districts if the regime wants to change the current district Collectors there.

The Commission has in writing asked Chief Secretary P Joy Oommen to provide a panel of names of three officers for each of the districts, state government officials said today.

The letter was sent by the Commission after it found that the state government had violated its order on ban on transfer of poll related officials, they said.

Since model code of conduct has been in force in the poll bound Chhattisgarh, with in an hour of transfer of two collectors, the Chief Secretary P Joy Oommen was informed on August 7 by the Election Commission that the posting of three IAS officers was a clear violation of the direction of the Commission, the sources said.

Because of the directive, Chief Minister Dr Raman Singh has failed to make one of his confidants as the District Collector of Dhamtari even after issuing the order a month ago.

The Chief Minister had, in fact, made his Deputy Secretary Rajpal Singh Tyagi as the District Collector of Dhamtari replacing T C Mahawar. Mahawar was shifted to Janjgir-Champa to replace Alok Awasthy. Awasthy was appointed as Deputy Secretary in Chief Ministerís secretariat looking into his skill as an administrator and also as an old hand of Public Relations, they said.

The model code of conduct, ahead of the likely November assembly election, was in force from July 15 and the Election Commission has put a ban on transfer of poll related officials, including the District Collectors who also function as the district returning officers, hence the Commission pointed out, posting of the three IAS officers are violating that order, the sources said.

Succumbing to the pressure, the Chief Minister had asked his officials to obey the order of the Commission, and thus failed to make his own confidant as the District Collector of Dhamtari, they said.

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