The usual rat-race, seeking plum posts at Fort St George, housing the State Secretariat, is now missing, thanks to the widespread COVID-19 infection.
“On a daily basis, there will be a non-ending queue at the Secretariat to meet the health minister, education minister and their secretaries seeking transfers, but this load has been reduced by over 80 per cent. Most of them are now busy with the COVID works in districts and the strenuous work culture in Chennai has restrained the other district medical staff seeking transfers to capital Chennai,” said an informed source. There were government officials ready to pay a cut for a department transfer, but now things are completely different that the demand has reduced.
“The situation is common even among the top officers. Retired intelligence department chief KN Satyamoorthy, the top cop for the AIADMK government since the days of the late chief minister Jayalalithaa, wished no extension of service and retired last month,” quipped a State official.
There is hardly any lobbying for the post of Chief Secretary as the incumbent CS K Shanmugham is on a three-month extension. Officers who are above 55 years of age are also seeking transfer to low profile jobs, where there is not much public interface reducing the risk of contracting coronavirus, the highly-placed source told DT Next.
“As per the extension order, there are three more months for the incumbent Chief Secretary, who belongs to the 1985 batch, and the next CS should be from the 1984 to 1987 batches as per the seniority and it will be a tough job for any new CS,” opined a senior government official.
“Uncertain corona pandemic, monsoon and then the State elections, so it is not going to be an easy task for the CS or the DGP and the best strategy would be to wait and watch for the corona and the polls to get over,” quipped the official.
"In my view, CS Shanmugham may get an extension for a few more months after obtaining the Centre’s nod and Shanmugham is an official who will call spade a spade fitting the current crisis," the official added.