SP Malik shifted out; J&K, Ladakh get new LGs

1985-batch IAS officer of Gujarat cadre and currently expenditure secretary in the government of India, Girish Chandra Murmu, was named as the LG of UT of J&K. Retired 1977 batch bureaucrat Radha Krishna Mathur will take over as the LG of Ladakh.

NEW DELHI: Ahead of reorganisation of state of Jammu & Kashmir into two separate Union territories on October 31, the Centre moved out incumbent governor Satya Pal Malik to Goa and appointed a serving and a retired bureaucrat as lieutenant governor (LG) of Union Territory (UT) of J&K and UT of Ladakh respectively. 1985-batch IAS officer of Gujarat cadre and currently expenditure secretary in the government of India, Girish Chandra Murmu, was named as the LG of UT of J&K. Retired 1977 batch bureaucrat Radha Krishna Mathur will take over as the LG of Ladakh. Murmu had served as principal secretary to Narendra Modi during his stint as chief minister of Gujarat. His background in finance ministry is expected to come in handy as the Centre rolls out schemes and incentives aimed at welfare of people of J&K and as assets and resources are divided between the UTs of J&K and Ladakh. Mathur, who belonged to Tripura cadre, was chief information commissioner of India between January 2016 and November 2018, after having retired as defence secretary in May 2013. President of India on Friday also announced the appointment of BJP leader from Kerala, PS Sreedharan Pillai, as governor of Mizoram, and former IIntelligence Bureau director and Centre’s interlocutor for J&K Dineshwar Sharma as administrator of Lakshadweep.Malik served as governor of J&K during the crucial time between August 2018, when the state was placed under governor’s rule following fall of the Mehbooba Mufti government, and now. He had the distinction of presiding over a series of important events starting with dissolution of the J&K assembly, governor’s rule followed by President’s rule that has been extended twice since, panchayat polls, and, most significantly, implementation of the Centre’s decision to abrogate Article 370 in J&K and preparing the ground for bifurcation of state of J&K.Malik, with the help of his five advisors from different backgrounds, is seen to have successfully managed the difficult situation in J&K in the aftermath of Article 370 being rendered ineffective. The tense atmosphere created by tight restrictions imposed in all of J&K after August 5 — particularly detention of top leaders, curbs on people’s movement and communication shutdown — that have lasted several days and not yet fully lifted, was deftly handled under his leadership, with not a single bullet being fired in normal law and order situations.The J&K governor, however, was known as much for being outspoken, including on issues viewed as sensitive. Only two days ago, Malik had commented that the position of a governor in the country was that of a weak person who “cannot hold a press conference or talk his heart out”.“A governor is used to be a weak entity. He does not have the right to hold a press conference or talk his heart out… I keep worrying for three days if someone in Delhi got angry with me after my lecture,” Malik was quoted as saying while addressing the convocation ceremony at Shri Mata Vaishno Devi University in Katra, Reasi.Notwithstanding his tendency to make controversial statements, often followed by clarifications, Malik did serve his purpose well — he facilitated difficult decisions and ensured law and order and security situation in J&K did not worsen to the point it had done after the killing of Hizbul terrorist Burhan Wani in 2016. He in fact oversaw efforts to restore normal life in the state, particularly the Valley, including lifting of curbs on movement, restoration of landlines and mobile communication and proper management of apple trade in the ongoing harvest season.

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