The transfer of nearly 70 bureaucrats, including 23 collectors, in the last two days have stirred up a controversy in Chhattisgarh, which is witnessing gradual increase in coronavirus cases, with the BJP claiming that the state is a "corrupt anarchy" now and resorting to "transfer business" during this sensitive time.
An order of transfer of 55 officers of Indian Administrative Service (IAS) was issued on Tuesday by the general administrative department of the state. As many as 23 collectors of the total of 28 districts of the state were transferred to other posts.
In another order issued on Thursday, as many as 14 officers of state civil services, all of whom were working as deputy collectors in various districts, were transferred.
Interestingly, the state finance department on Wednesday issued a directive mentioning a slew of austerity measures, including prohibiting transfer of government employees, saying the nation-wide lockdown for prevention of COVID-19 infection has adversely affected the revenue collection of the state government.
"As per the decisions, creating new posts, transfer, organizing meetings in expensive hotels, foreign tours and purchase of new vehicles has been prohibited and instructions have been given to take economic measures for recruitment on vacancies, promotion, annual salary increment," an official release had said.
The move to transfer around 70 bureaucrats has been criticised by the opposition BJP.
"As many as 23 collectors of districts have been transferred at a time when coronavirus cases are increasing in the state. It is a set back to the efforts being put to check the pandemic. There is transfer industry working in the state which has become a corrupt anarchy now," said O P Choudhary, member of BJP state executive committee.
He said these transfers should have been avoided during this sensitive time.
"The state of affairs in Chhattisgarh can truly be explained through Roman phrase, i.e. when Rome was burning, Nero was playing flute!," said Choudhary, a former IAS officer-turned-politician.
Choudhary, who had been Raipur collector and held various posts in the state, said the Congress government needs to put its house in order and stop playing with people's lives.
A state government official termed these transfer as routine and rejected the BJP's allegations.