GTA to move court for principal secretary – Legal challenge to replace Mohan

The Telegraph

VIVEK CHHETRI

(From left) Roshan Giri, GTA Sabha chairman Pradeep Pradhan and deputy chief executive Ramesh Allay in Darjeeling on Friday. Picture by Suman Tamang

Darjeeling, March 15: The GTA Sabha today decided to file a writ petition in Calcutta High Court against the state government over the appointment of the principal secretary of the hill body.

“The GTA has decided to file a writ petition in the high court soon over the appointment of the principal secretary to the GTA. The state government has not been following the provisions enshrined both in the GTA MoA (Memorandum of Agreement) and the GTA Act,” said GTA executive member Roshan Giri.

He was speaking after the GTA Sabha meeting at the Gorkha Rangamanch Bhavan in Darjeeling today.

Giri said Saumitra Mohan was not fit to execute the responsibilities of the GTA principal secretary.

“After going through the appointment letter of Saumitra Mohan, we have found that he has been appointed secretary of the GTA and has also been directed to exercise the powers and functions of the principal secretary (of the GTA). Apart from these two posts, he is also the district magistrate (of Darjeeling). One person is holding three charges and we want a full-fledged principal secretary to be appointed to the GTA.”

According to Giri, the GTA MoA states that the principal secretary would have to be of the rank of either a principal secretary or a secretary to the state government.

“In the GTA Act, it is stated that the principal secretary to the GTA will be in the rank of either a secretary or a commissioner of the Bengal government. However, the provisions agreed upon in the GTA MoA or the Act have not been followed,” said Giri.

The Bengal’s administrative hierarchy in ascending order starts from joint secretary, additional secretary, secretary and principal secretary. Morcha sources said Mohan was an additional secretary to the government.

The party is also peeved because the government has not acted upon a resolution passed by the GTA Sabha on February 6, demanding the change of the present principal secretary.

Relations between GTA chief executive Bimal Gurung and Mohan have come under stress in recent months. Gurung is of the opinion that Mohan has been functioning without taking the GTA Sabha members into confidence, an allegation Mohan has already denied. The GTA Sabha also objected to the government’s decision to “revive” the school service commission in the hills and the delay in the transfer of a few departments to the GTA.

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