As state chief secretary Dr J Suresh Babu is set to retire, speculations are rife as to who would be the next chief secretary of Manipur.
As per highly placed sources, the present additional chief secretary (Finance) Dr Rajesh Kumar, IAS of 1988 batch might be the new chief secretary (CS).
Meanwhile, speculations of Dr Suresh Babu getting an extension of three months ended on Thursday with the General Administration Department (GAD) organising a farewell function for the outgoing CS at 1 pm Friday at the Conference Hall of Manipur Secretariat, South Block, Imphal.
Dr Suresh Babu is a 1986 batch IAS officer of Manipur cadre, and his senior batchmate and Additional Chief Secretary (Forests) Dr Suhel Akhtar is retiring next month.
So, the choice of a new CS from among the ranks of senior IAS officers of Manipur cadre would certainly be from the 1988 batch, of which Dr Rajesh Kumar is the senior most.
According to the IAS civil list of 1988 batch, among the Manipur cadre officers Dr Rajesh Kumar ranks 10th, while additional chief secretary MH Khan, additional secretary in Minority Affairs Ministry SK Dev Burman and additional chief secretary (Tribal Affairs) Letkhogin Haokip are ranked 36th, 90th and 94th respectively.
The sources further said the chief minister is quite impressed with the work done within a short period of time by Dr Rajesh Kumar in securing Central funds and other investments after his return from Central deputation.
Of late, the powerful All Tribal Students Union Manipur (ATSUM) along with DESAM and AIMS has been demanding the appointment of a senior and native IAS officer as the new Chief Secretary, in line with the MOU signed between the state government and the 3 students’ organisations on June 9, 2018.
The student bodies had taken exception to the appointment of Dr J Suresh Babu as chief secretary instead of ranking IAS officer Ameishing Luikham. Luikham had since then been appointed as a member of state Lok Ayukta.