Former Delhi chief secretary new advisor to J&K Governor

Governor Satya Pal Malik on Monday expanded his team by appointing Kewal Kumar Sharma, a former bureaucrat, as his advisor.
Former Delhi chief secretary new advisor to J&K Governor
File Photo

Governor Satya Pal Malik on Monday expanded his team by appointing Kewal Kumar Sharma, a former bureaucrat, as his advisor.

Sharma, an IAS officer of AGMUT (Arunachal Pradesh, Goa, Mizoram and Union Territories) cadre, retired as secretary higher education in the Union ministry of human resources development in February this year.

A source told Greater Kashmir that the move to appoint Sharma is aimed at giving representation to Jammu province in the Governor's team.

"There is no immediate proposal of replacing any advisor," he said, adding but there were some discussions at different levels in the past two weeks for replacing one or two of them.

He said Sharma will be allotted portfolios in the next few days.

"The Governor will reshuffle the portfolios of his incumbent advisors and allot some of them to Sharma," he said.

A topper in the 1980 batch of the erstwhile Regional Engineering College, Srinagar, Sharma, who hails from Billawar area of Kathua, is an IAS officer of the 1983 batch.

He has held prestigious positions during his career in Union Territories.

As principal secretary of the Delhi's public works department in 2010, he played an instrumental role behind various projects relating to the Commonwealth Games.

Prior to his appointment as the chief secretary of Delhi, he has held the same position in Goa and was also advisor to the administrator of Chandigarh.

In March 2015, he emerged as consensus choice for chief secretary of Delhi where Kejriwal-led AAP government and Centre have often locked horns over postings at top bureaucratic positions.

Sharma has also served in Kosovo on United Nations assignment between 1999 and 2005.

With Sharma's appointment, the number of advisors appointed in the state after Governor's rule has gone up to four.

NN Vohra had appointed BB Vyas, Khurshid Ahmad Ganai and K Vijay Kumar as his advisors before he was replaced by Malik on August 23.

While Vyas and Ganai were personal choices of Vohra, Kumar was picked up by New Delhi for the assignment.

Sharma is the first advisor to be appointed by Malik. The appointment of Sharma comes nearly one-and-a-half month before Governor's rule ends in J&K on December 19. It came into effect on June 20.

If no elected government is in place, the state will come under President's rule from December 20.

The legal experts are, however, divided over whether the Legislative Assembly has to be dissolved before December 20 or it can be kept under suspended animation during President's rule also.

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