Atanu Chakraborty removed from GIDB

Vol 4, PW 7 (10 May 00) People & Policy

If you don't like a particular government official, get him transferred.

In India, it happens all the time - mostly at the behest of powerful business interests. Hence the fate of Atanu Chakraborty, head of the Gujarat Infrastructure Development Board (GIDB).

Until recently, Chakraborty was one of the state's most respected officials. But Petrowatch learns that at 7pm on (Thursday) 27th April, he received a telephone call from the office of Chief Minister Keshubhai Patel, telling him he was being transferred out of the GIDB to become the new Commissioner of Employment and Training - a ceremonial job with no real responsibility.

Putbluntly, a demotion. In Chakraborty's place comes Ravi Saxena, previously in charge of 'rural development' and a former head of the Gujarat Industrial Development Corporation (GIDC).

Saxena moved into Chakraborty's office on (Saturday) 29th April because astrologers told him it would be unwise to begin on (Friday) the 28th! A correspondent for Petrowatch remarks cryptically that, "Saxena will be good for big business, they'll be able to get their work done through him." By contrast, Chakraborty, a man credited with transforming the GIDB from a moribund talking shop to a major vehicle for industrial policy formulation, is believed to have told friends he now has more time for his favourite hobby - playing bridge! Observers in Gujarat say Chakraborty will be remembered for the 'Gujarat Vision 2010' paper and the Build, Own, Operate and Transfer (BOOT) guidelines, which permit company's to build and operate ports for 30 years before handing them back to the government.

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