Atal Dulloo’s appointment as Chief Secretary: 13th son of soil heading bureaucracy in J&K

Ahmed Ali Fayyaz. Updated: 12/4/2023 2:08:44 AM

Srinagar: The 1989-batch IAS officer Atal Dulloo, who took over as Chief Secretary of Jammu and Kashmir on Friday, is the 31st appointee for this position since 1947. While 18 officers were ‘outsiders’, as many as 12 were permanent residents of the State/Union Territory. Dulloo is the 13th son of the soil who has been appointed as his home State’s Chief Secretary.
In five months of his proceeding to the Central deputation, where he served as Secretary Border Management in the MHA, the 57-year-old Kashmiri bureaucrat Dulloo was repatriated to the parent AGMUT cadre on 20th of November 2023. Given to the former J&K cadre’s senior most officer Pradip Kumar Tripathi’s continued posting as Secretary (Coordination) in the Cabinet Secretariat of the Government of India and his scheduled retirement in June 2024, Dulloo was the senior most in his cadre after Mehta’s superannuation.
With age being on his side, Dulloo will have a minimum tenure of nearly three years before his scheduled retirement in October 2026.
A Kashmiri Pandit officer, Dulloo is J&K’s 31st Chief Secretary—18 were from outside the State/UT against 13 J&K domiciles. His appointment has been widely appreciated across the UT, mainly for his immaculate image of an unassuming, low-key bureaucrat with a track record of honesty and integrity.
“Atal Dulloo’s appointment as Chief Secretary is a welcome move. After a long time a J&K resident has been put in a position of power to serve his people when they find themselves in utter despair & dispossessed. Hope it gives way to a sense of empathy & redressal for the masses”, Peoples Democratic Party’s president and former Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti posted on ‘X’. Known for her severe criticism of the establishment’s actions and decisions in the last 5 years, Mehbooba Mufti has rarely praised an administrative order from the BJP Government at the Centre.
There has been no negative comment from other opposition parties including Farooq Abdullah’s National Conference (NC). Most of Mehbooba’s followers posted positive remarks— many calling Dulloo as ‘panun’ (our own).
“With Mr Atal Dullo serving as Chief Secretary, there is an unequivocal expectation that the interests of the people will undeniably be the focal point of all dealings. His commitment ensures that the welfare and concerns of the public remain paramount in every decision and action”, one Pervez Naik commented.
Many in the J&K population have had a special obsession for the State’s “sons of the soil” even as a number of the ‘outsiders’ have been remarkably popular. Significantly, religious affiliation of the officers and bureaucrats has never been an issue, particularly in the valley.
Of the erstwhile State’s permanent residents, Peer Ghulam Ahmad served the longest term of 10 years as Chief Secretary in Bakshi Ghulam Mohammad’s government from 1954 to 1964. Kashmiri Pandit Pushkar Nath Kaul served as Chief Secretary for 11 months in Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah’s government in 1977-78. Syed Muzaffar Aga was Chief Secretary in Sheikh’s NC government from 1978 to 1980.
Noor Mohammad was the 4th J&K domicile and the 3rd Kashmiri Muslim who served as Chief Secretary from 1980 to 1983. Subsequently, Bakshi Ghulam Mohammad’s son-in-law Mir Nasrullah was Chief Secretary in Ghulam Mohammad Shah’s government from 1984 to 1986.
After 1990, professor-turned-bureaucrat Sheikh Ghulam Rasool served as J&K’s Chief Secretary in the President’s rule from 1992 to 1994. Dr S.S. Bloeria was the 7th J&K resident and the first Dogra Hindu who served as Chief Secretary in 2002-05. Later, Kashmiri Pandit Vijay Bakaya functioned as the head of the State bureaucracy in Mufti Mohammad Sayeed’s and Ghulam Nabi Azad’s government in 2005-06.
C. Phunsog, a Buddhist from Ladakh, served as Chief Secretary in 2006-07. He was followed by Dogra Hindu B.R. Kundal who remained posted as Chief Secretary for the shortest term of 7 months in Ghulam Nabi Azad’s government in 2007-08.
After their retirement from service, Sheikh Ghulam Rasool, Vijay Bakaya and B.R. Kundal joined politics. Rasool and Bakaya served a term each as NC’s Members of the Legislative Council. Kundal was made Congress party’s MLC and a Minister for a short term by Azad.
Kashmiri Muslim Mohammad Iqbal Khanday served as Chief Secretary in Omar Abdullah’s and Mufti Mohammad Sayeed’s governments from 2013 to 2015. Dogra Hindu B.R. Sharma functioned as Chief Secretary from 2015 to 2017. After a term as a Secretary in MHA, followed by his appointment as Chairman Staff Selection Commission, Sharma also headed J&K UT’s Public Service Commission.
Of the 13 J&K officers who were appointed as Chief Secretary, 9 including Dulloo were from Kashmir, 3 from Jammu and 1 from Ladakh.

Updated On 12/4/2023 2:19:35 AM

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