Political or Public Servant?

The change of guard of Deputy Commissioners in the State Capital Kohima and in Dimapur, will be keenly watched as both the two aforementioned districts are high profile in terms of the administrative importance it holds as also its proximity to the different centers of power. As the general administrator of two important districts, the new Deputy Commissioners will have their tasks cut out. 

The Development agenda no doubt ought to remain a high priority area. For this, the two incumbents would have to give proper attention in coordinating with all developmental heads of the district for all round developmental activities under various programmes such as M.P. scheme (MPLAD), MLA’s scheme, Border areas development funds, Employment assurance schemes and so on and so forth.

The Deputy Commissioners would also have to put in place a clear cut security agenda requiring constant attention so as to allow them to take pre-emptive measures rather than resorting to fire-fighting exercise, which is often the case. For this, a healthy working relationship with the respective Superintendent of Police and other security agencies is of outmost importance. The spate of incidents occurring in both Kohima and Dimapur involving gun-wielding lawless elements raises serious concern for both public safety and the psychological disorder it creates in the minds of would be investors. Creating a congenial environment for economic activity to take place deserves the outmost attention of the administration and also the political leadership in the State.  

The maintenance of law and order will therefore remain the biggest challenge. For this, the rule of law should not be compromised under any circumstances. The measure of success on this front will also depend to a large extend on how far the writ of the administration runs and whether it is able to make acceptance of its authority as a matter of legitimacy. It would therefore be interesting to see how the two new dispensations manage the pulls and push of the known power centers—the parallel underground governments and the political pressures that they will be regularly subjected to.

On its part, having now appointed the two officials, it would also demand from the State Government that both DCs be allowed to function independently and also giving them a longer lease of life in office so that they are able to formulate and implement their assigned duty without fear or favour. It is somewhat distressing to note the manner in which some of the earlier DCs had to leave impromptu. There are no two opinions that public servants such as the DCs need some security of tenure. Only then will they be able to perform to the best of their abilities. On several occasions honest officers have been shifted out allegedly due to political pressure and to establish proxy rule in the districts. 

While for the vested interested politician it may be a more convenient tool to have a ‘Yes man’ in such important postings as Kohima and Dimapur that will allow them to siphon large chunks of the funds granted, the new district heads will do well not to play to their tunes and instead show courage to take a principled stand and work without fear and favor as true servants of the public.