When a section of bureaucrats in Assam are considered to be “too close” to the political masters, fresh contractual appointment of an ACS officer, two days prior to his retirement, and that too, without approval of the State Empowered Committee, has raised many an eyebrows.
The Information and Public Relations (IPR) Department on September 28, issued a notification (No. IPRD.62/2018/1) on the contractual appointment of Rajib Prakash Baruah as an Officer on Special Duty of the department. The notification has been signed by S Z Hazarika, secretary, IPR department.
“Pending approval of the State Empowered Committee and in interest of public service, Sri Rajib Prakash Baruah ……..,is hereby appointed on contractual basis as Officer on Special Duty (OSD), Information & Public Relations Department in the rank of Additional Secretary to the Govt. Of Assam for a period of one year w.e.f 01/10/2018,” the notification said.
Baruah, an Assam Civil Service (ACS) official, retired on September 30 on attaining the age of superannuation. In addition to being the Additional Secretary, he was officiating as the Director of the Department of Information and Public Relations.
According to reports, Baruah joined his duty as the OSD of IPR Department at 10 am on October 1. His pay and allowances during the period of contractual service will be determined as per OM No.AAP.98/2017/30, dtd July 18, 2018. Both the notification and joining reports have been marked to the Accountant General (A&E) of Assam.
Baruah’s contractual appointment has raised two important issues – firstly, why did the secretary, IPR department and not the secretary of Personnel (A) department issued the notification of the contractual appointment of Rajib Prakash Baruah?
Secondly, why was it so important for S Z Hazarika, secretary of IPR department to issue the notification of Rajib Prakash Baruah’s contractual appointment without the approval of the State Empowered Committee?
Why is Rajib Prakash Baruah’s service so important for the Information and Public Relations department that his appointment as OSD on contractual basis had to be notified without approval of the State Empowered Committee?
Or, is Rajib Prakash Baruah’s appointment was as per the wish of someone every important in the corridors of power in Assam? Baruah is believed to be “close” to Hrishikesh Goswami, Media Adviser to Chief Minister of Assam.
Goswami is also secretary of Harendranath Baruah Memorial Trust, an organisation set up in memory of Rajib Prakash Baruah’s father, a famous journalist of Assam.