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By the Way

Who will succeed Dhesi?

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Who will be the new Chief Secretary of Haryana as Depinder Singh Dhesi, the present incumbent, is retiring in June 2019. According to news emanating from the 4th floor of the Haryana Secretariat, Dhesi is likely to get an extension of six months. Dhesi, a 1982-batch IAS officer, has held the post for over four years. If Dhesi does not get an extension, the Chief Minister has to select a competent IAS officer in an election year. The new Haryana Assembly 2019 has to be constituted on or before November 2, 2019. On top of the list is Financial Commissioner, Revenue, and Additional Chief Secretary (Revenue and Disaster Management) Keshni Anand Arora, an IAS officer of the 1983 batch. Arora is the senior most and among the front-runners for the post but retires on September 30, 2020. Arora has a good rapport with the Chief Minister and is considered to be a competent officer. In case the Khattar government is directed by the RSS top brass to select somebody other than Arora, then the Chief Minister will have a tough choice choosing among officers of the 1984 and 1985 batches. If Dhesi gets an extension, many officers will forego the chance of being selected as chief secretary as they will be superannuated by then. These include Additional Chief Secretary (Home) SS Prasad, who retires on July 31 and Navraj Sandhu, Additional Chief Secretary (Agriculture and Farmers Welfare), who demits office on November 30. Then the choice will be among the 1984-batch IAS officer Sunil Gulati, Additional Chief Secretary, Animal Husbandry & Dairying Deptt, Haryana, who retires on April 30, 2021, Dhanpat Singh, 1985-batch IAS officer, Addl Chief Secy, Transport Deptt, Haryana, who superannuates on April 30, 2020, and Vijay Vardhan, also from the 1985 batch, Addl Chief Secy, Tourism, Haryana who retires on November 30, 2021. Meanwhile, P Raghvendra Rao, a secretary-level 1985 batch officer on deputation to the Central government, retires on May 31, 2020, while his batch mate Surina Rajan retires on August 31 this year. In the given scenario, if Dhesi does not get an extension and Arora is superseded, sources reveal that Dhanpat Singh has a good chance. If good sense prevails, Khattar should go with merit and run the state without adhocism and extensions. What does the builder lobby think?

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