Srinagar, June 10: Former union home secretary and government of India’s special envoy on Kashmir, Narendra Nath Vohra, has been appointed as the 12th governor of Jammu and Kashmir. He replaces Lt Gen (retd) S K Sinha whose term had ended on 4th of this month.
A notification to the effect has been issued from the Rashtrapati Bhavan Tuesday by which the president has appointed Vohra as the new governor for the state. Former home secretary, V K Duggal, who also had emerged as a strong contender for the Raj Bhavan, has been appointed as the governor of Maharashtra and S C Mathur as the governor of Assam.
Talking to Greater Kashmir this evening from New Delhi, Vohra said he had been called to the prime minister’s office on Tuesday and informed about his appointment as the governor of Jammu and Kashmir. “I will be assuming the charge in a few days,” he said, adding that a few days earlier, he had been told to stay put in the capital.
Reliable sources said the incumbent governor, Lt Gen (retd) S K Sinha, had last month addressed a communication to the president urging his retention in the state till the conclusion of the annual pilgrimage to Amarnath cave. Before his request could be entertained, the government had taken the decision to appoint N N Vohra as the new governor.
Well placed sources told Greater Kashmir that the prime minister’s office had, on Monday, received a communication from the Rashtrapati Bhavan to ascertain whether or not Sinha’s term of office as the state governor had been extended. The PMO had, on the same day, responded with the confirmation that the centre had taken a decision for the appointment of Vohra as the new governor.
Earlier, Vohra’s formal appointment had been deferred after the union home ministry suggested Sinha’s retention in view of the ensuing Amarnath Yatra and the state assembly elections later this year. However, the PMO’s communication to the president on Monday set all the speculation at rest. The state government too had been informed about Vohra’s appointment.
Sinha is likely to vacate the state Raj Bhavan in a few days as the new governor is all set to assume his charge ahead of the Amarnath Yatra which commences on 18th of this month. Although the Raj Bhavan sources feigned ignorance of any decision about the gubernatorial change, Sinha is understood to have restricted his engagements over the past few days.
It may be recalled that Greater Kashmir was the first newspaper to break the news about the change of the state governor and the appointment of N N Vohra as his successor.
Narendra Nath Vohra was a member of the Indian Administrative Service from 1959 to 1994. During his tenure with the government of India, he served as secretary Defence Production, defence secretary and home secretary.
After his retirement in 1994, Vohra was recalled to serve as the principal secretary to the prime minister from 1997-1998. He was the member of National Security Advisory Board from 1998 to 2001.
In 2000, he was appointed as the chairman, National Task force on Internal Security; chairman, Institute of Defence Studies and Analysis Review Committee from 1999 to 2001) and the chairman, Military History Review Committee from 2001 to 2002.
Vohra was the co-chairman of the high profile India-EU Round Table in 2001. He also served as the director of the prestigious India International Centre in New Delhi from 1995 to 1997 and from 1998 to 2003.
In 2003, he was appointed as the government of India’s interlocutor for Kashmir by the prime minister, Dr Manmohan Singh. He held several rounds of talks with the separatist leaders apart from the series of talks with the mainstream political parties and the representatives of various social and trade organizations.