For Honest Officers All Governments are the SameDo honest officers have no backers?
By Sunil Garodia
Haryana IAS officer Ashok Khemka, whistleblower in the Robert Vadra land deal case, has been transferred again, this time by the BJP government in the state. He was Transport Commissioner. Now he has been given charge of Archaeology and Museum Department. This is the 45th transfer in his career.
The present transfer means that change of government does not mean anything for honest officers who do not kowtow to their political masters. The BJP was most vocal in its support for Khemka when he exposed the previous Congress governmentÃ¢â¬â¢s wrongdoings to favour Sonia GandhiÃ¢â¬â¢s son-in-law Robert Vadra. Narendra Modi made the case a plank for ousting the government which worked for the damaad instead of the state. But after winning the elections, KhemkaÃ¢â¬â¢s honesty is of no use.
For, this time he had gone after truckers and the powerful mining lobby that overloads trucks and causes immense damage to roads and highways in the state, while avoiding taxes and duties. He had issued orders to district officials to strictly penalize overloaded vehicles. This brought him in direct confrontation with the transport minister, Ram Vilas Sharma. The politician won and Khemka was transferred to an insignificant post.
In his new department, Khemka might find models of officers who went against the political leadership of the day. He might find stories about bruised and beaten officers who were asked to bend. He might even find a corpse or two of officers who refused to bend. But Khemka will not be scared. For, he is made of a different kettle. He has seen and done all in his 45 transfers. He knows no politician can be trusted, as they work more for themselves and their business cohorts than the state or the country. Why should a minister object if an officer wants to penalize overloaded trucks? After all, there is a law against overloading, isnÃ¢â¬â¢t there? It can only be because the mining lobby, which must have contributed handsomely to partyÃ¢â¬â¢s election campaign fund, now wants payback.
By this one act of transferring an honest officer like Khemka, the BJP has shown that it is no different from the Congress. It has shown that it will be dictated by vested interests in taking major decisions. It has shown that there is a huge gap in what it says and what it does. Probably, they are thinking that the general public is not concerned with the transfer of an Ã¢â¬ËinsignificantÃ¢â¬â¢ officer. That may be the case. But the cascading effect is going to submerge this government. Once it is clear that the government can be persuaded to remove officers, other lobbies will demand the same. Very soon, all good officers will be transferred to insignificant posts and louts will have free run of the state. Goodbye, good governance. Welcome, andher nagri, chaupat raja.
The honeymoon seems to be ending earlier than the BJP bargained for.