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India’s 1st odd-even tryst begins in Capital today

Even as the Capital gears up for the ambitious odd even traffic scheme today, almost all senior bureaucrats of Delhi Government on Thursday went on mass leave protesting suspension of two officials, an action declared void by the Centre, setting the stage for yet another tussle between the two sides as Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) dispensation called the strike part of a “conspiracy” to “fail” the odd-even scheme.

While around 200 DANICS-cadre officers went on a day-long mass-leave, over 70 IAS officials struck work from 9 am to 2 pm, protesting AAP government’s action against Yashpal Garg and Subhash Chandra, both Special Secretaries. The two DANICS (Delhi, Andaman and Nicobar Islands Civil Service) cadre officials, serving at the Home Department, were suspended after they refused to sign a file pertaining to the Cabinet decision to increase salary of public prosecutors.

A furious Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal sent out a stern warning to agitating officers saying government was exploring “all options” against those who are on leave on Thursday.  He said government will not tolerate corruption and insubordination.

“DANICS and IAS associations in Delhi have become full fledged B teams of BJP,” Kejriwal said, while accusing Prime Minister Narendra Modi of “firing” at the AAP government through the Lt Governor and the officers. In a series of tweets, he also said time has come to replace bureaucrats with professionals and sector experts to infuse fresh energy and ideas in governance.

“People will be very happy if these officers go on long leave. Govt is ready to give paid leave. Governance will become honest, smooth and efficient,” he said. 

Hours after the Home Ministry declared the punitive action against the officials as null and void, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia also questioned the timing of the protest by the bureaucrats, calling it part of a conspiracy to ensure failure of the odd-even scheme being rolled out tomorrow.

Delhi, Andaman and Nicobar Islands Civil Service (DANICS) are selected through civil service exams conducted by Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) and the Union Home Ministry is their cadre-controlling authority.

“The Home Ministry has received a reference from the Lieutenant Governor of Delhi on the suspension of two DANICS officers. It declares the suspension order is ‘non est’ (mistake or does not exist) and the two officers should be considered deemed to be on duty,” a Home Ministry spokesperson said earlier. Reacting to the protest, Delhi Home Minister Satyendra Jain said DANICS and IAS officers do not have the right to go on strike as it is against their service rule.

“Delhi Government does not have power to suspend any DANICS officer and it can only recommend suspension of DANICS officer and on this, LG can suspend him or her with permission from MHA,” a representative of the association said.

The much awaited odd-even scheme that kicks off at 8 am today in the national capital will restrict the movement of private cars on the roads of the national capital for 15 days.
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