Friday, December 17, 2010

Cabinet secretary contender M Ramachandran poached by Mayawati

THE Centre’s loss is Mayawati’s gain. M Ramachandran, a 1972 batch retired IAS who just missed the coveted cabinet secretary’s post, has been poached by UP government led by BSP supremo Mayawati. Ramachandran who belonged to UP and then Uttarakhand cadre, has been appointed as adviser (infrastructure) with a mandate to accelerate infrastructure projects and development work in Uttar Pradesh. He will hold the rank of a cabinet minister in the state, and will be based out of Noida.The Centre has been dillydallying in giving him a suitable post after he missed the opportunity to become the country's top bureaucrat.  
Till third week of May this year, Ramachandran was the senior most bureaucrat to succeed KM Chandrasekhar, a 1970 batch IAS, as cabinet secretary. But Chandrasekhar’s extension in June, second in the row, dashed the hopes of Ramachandran and other contenders like PJ Thomas who was later made CVC. There were gossips in power corridors that Ramachandran would be made either the Election Commissioner or Delhi Metro chief. Whereas Andhra Pradesh cadre IAS Harishankar Brahma, a three-year junior to Ramachandran , was made the Election Commissioner, Delhi Metro chief E Sreedharan is given another year’s extension, forcing Ramachandran to look for other avenues. Even for CVC’s post, Ramachandran with an impeccable record was not empanelled, ensuring his one batch junior IAS, PJ Thomas sail through at ease.
For the record, Sudha Pillai, who was a contender for cabinet secretary’s post in June 2009, was given a suitable alternative post after being denied the top bureaucrat’s position. Sudha Pillai, a batch-mate of Ramachandran, and senior most bureaucrat when KM Chandrasekhar got the first extension in June 2009, was later made Member Secretary of Planning Commission with the rank of a minister of state.
Ramachandran who had served as chief secretary in Uttarakhand and later drove the Centre’s flagship programme JNNURM as Union urban development secretary, wears a tag of “infrastructure man”. His book, “An Alternative Approach to Project Planning in Public Works -- The Indian Context” is well appreciated in infrastructure circle. After retirement in June this year, he has written a comprehensive book on Indian Metro rail which is scheduled to hit the stand sometime in April, 2011. 
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