New Delhi: Former West Bengal Chief Secretary Alapan Bandopadhyay, who was appointed as an IAS officer on 8 August 1987, served in 31 different posts during his 34-year-career, but never went on a Central deputation during this entire time, while choosing to remain in West Bengal.
A native of West Bengal, Bandopadhyay, according to sources who have known him, always stayed in the good books of his boss, be it in the 13 years when he served under Jyoti Basu who was the CM when Bandopadhyay started his career, the almost 11 years that he served under Basu’s successor, Buddhadeb Bhattacharya, and in the last 10 years in which he rose to become one of the closest IAS officers to the present Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.
“He has no political affiliations, his affiliation has always been to the person who is sitting in the chair and that is why he was supported by all these three CMs despite each of them coming from a different background in every sense. He is an example of how a true IAS officer should conduct himself, something that he might have learnt from his days of being a journalist with Anandabazaar Patrika before he became an IAS,” an official commented. Bandopadhyay, who was appointed as the advisor to Mamata Banerjee following his retirement, got his first “big’ posting in 2003 when he was appointed as the District Magistrate of South 24 Parganas, only to be moved from there in less than five months and being made the CEO of Kolkata Metropolitan Development Authority (KMDA).
After that, he again got a lucrative post of Director, Industries, after which he moved on to become the Commissioner of Kolkata, a post in which he served for four years till 2009.
He was serving as OSD to the home minister till the TMC came to power in May 2011 and Mamata Banerjee took over as the CM of the state. Under Banerjee’s tenure, he served in 14 posts in the 10-year period from November 2011 to May 2021 before being appointed as the advisor to the Chief Minister following his superannuation. Bandopadhyaya served as the Principal Secretary in the Labour department, commerce, transport, micro and small enterprises, chairman of Industrial Area development, before being appointed as the Chief Secretary in September 2020. Incidentally, the man who has replaced Bandopadhyay, Hari Krishna Dwivedi, who is a 1988 batch officer, too, has not gone on a Central deputation in his 33-year-career during which he has served in 17 different posts. Of the six West Bengal cadre IAS officers who are serving and senior to Dwivedi, four are on central deputation, while of the remaining two, Naveen Prakash is serving as the Chief Secretary to the West Bengal Governor, while Sunil Gupta is heading the Public Works Department. Both belong to the 1987 batch.