Kolkata: Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday said she was appointing West Bengal’s Chief Secretary Alapan Bandyopadhyay as an Advisor for three years effective from Tuesday, after allowing the bureaucrat who was ordered by the central government to report to Delhi, to retire.
The Centre has asked him to join North Block on Tuesday but it cannot force an officer to join it without the permission of the state administration, Banerjee told a press conference.
“The CS got a letter from the Centre asking him to join North Block by tomorrow. This is not a reply to my letter but to the CS. I have not received any reply from it to the letter which I had sent earlier today,” she said.
The central government’s decision is unilateral and unconstitutional, the chief minister claimed.
“We are not relieving him. He has superannuated today, but he will act as the chief advisor to the CM for the next three years,” Banerjee said.
Earlier in the day, Banerjee wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, requesting him to withdraw the Centre’s order recalling the chief secretary, asserting that her government “cannot release, and is not releasing” the top bureaucrat.
The Centre, in a surprise move, had on May 28 night sought Bandyopadhyay’s services and asked the state government to immediately release the top bureaucrat.
Bandyopadhyay, a 1987-batch IAS officer of West Bengal cadre, was scheduled to retire on Monday after completion of 60 years of age. However, he was granted a three-month extension following a nod from the Centre to work on COVID management.