Loose talk riles Andhra babus
By S Guru Srikanth - HYDERABAD
Published: 22nd Jul 2012 12:46:51 PM
Provocative remarks by Minor Irrigation Minister T G Venkatesh against bureaucrats have further widened the chasm between babus and netas in the state. Though serious differences had cropped up between the mantris and babudom when a few IAS officers were arrested and many more were questioned by the CBI in connection with the alleged disproportionate assets case against Kadapa MP Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy, this time around IAS officers have been left fuming even as Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy has only a cold shoulder for the IAS fraternity.
Venkatesh, during inauguration of a office building of irrigation department in Kurnool district recently, spoke of the lack of accountability of IAS officers, declaring that non-performing IAS officers should be shot dead on the roads. The minister lambasted IAS officers, describing them as the hurdles of the department. He even held them responsible for the delay in releases of funds. He further went on record to claim that 10 per cent of the IAS officers holding key posts are corrupt.
Shocked and taken aback, the IAS Officers Association, which met recently felt that the minister’s statement had the potential to incite the public and create law and order problem.
“Performance or non-performance of any officer is to be dealt with in accordance with the law and rules and procedures of the government. Loose talk by the minister lowers the dignity of his office, demoralises the bureaucracy and brings down the image of the government,” said an IAS officer.
After the caustic reaction from the IAS fraternity, one expected the minister to retract his earlier comments but Venkatesh, instead, maintained his stance and further went on the record that he stood by what he had said and his comments were aimed at those who did not work. Further, he said that honesty of officials was not enough but performance of the department he worked for mattered and if the bureaucrats did not deliver, the system would collapse.
Sharply reacting to the minister’s fresh salvo, a senior bureaucrat said that it was nothing short of rubbing salt on the injury. “Members of our fraternity were made scapegoats due to decisions taken by the minister in YS Rajasekhara Reddy’s government. Present government saw it fit enough to provide legal aid to ministers involved in the issue, but did not extend the same legal aid to the IAS officers involved. This is ridiculous,” he said.
Venkatesh’s outspoken attitude was criticised by the leaders of TDP, YSRCP and even his own party.
Irritated by the minister’s stance, the IAS Officers Association met Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy and expressed their anguish over the development.