Maverick Bihar bureaucrat K K Pathak gets a new job

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By J P GUPTA

New Delhi: After transforming Bihar’s virtually shattered Education Department into a thriving entity, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has assigned 1990-batch Bihar cadre IAS officer K K Pathak the new responsibility of putting the state Land and Revenue Department in action.

So far availability of ‘performer’ bureaucrats in the state is concerned, CM Nitish Kumar has limited options and if he needs a tough official to get things back on track in any department, Mr Pathak has emerged as his first choice.

Pathak had taken over as Additional Chief Secretary of the Education Department in June 2023, but his management style irritated many, including the Governor, the education minister, and certain lawmakers.

Mr Pathak is currently on leave, and upon resuming duty, will take charge of the revenue and land reforms department. S Siddhartha, the Additional Chief Secretary, Cabinet Secretariat, will hold the charge of Education Department, a government notification said.

Pathak had been in the news for controversial orders issued by the education department pertaining to school timings, holidays in government-run schools and and freezing of the accounts of several state-run universities.

Bihar’s land reforms and revenue department have been hit by several challenges, and after the Patna High Court ordered to renew the ownership records of land owners in a recent judgement, it stirred widespread resentment among in various section as land registration was hit affecting government revenue.

The matter is now in the Apex court which will hear it in September this year. But the government wants to set the basics right and for this Mr. Pathak has been given this responsibility, a political activist asserted.

In view of a complex land tenure system in Bihar with various types of land ownership, including bhoodan land, government land, tenancy land, etc, an officer of the caliber of Mr. Pathak could sail through smoothly as this complexity often leads to disputes and delays in land records updating and land redistribution.

Besides, outdated and inaccurate land records contribute to land disputes, fraudulent transactions, and ineffective implementation of land reforms. Lack of proper surveying and mapping technology has further exacerbated the problem.

Despite various land reform initiatives, the implementation has been slow and ineffective due to bureaucratic hurdles, lack of political will, and resistance from vested interests.

Corruption within the revenue department has been a significant issue, leading to manipulation of land records, illegal land grabbing, and extortion from landowners.

To address these problems , the chief Minister had no option than to assign this tough job to Mr Pathak, an official close to the administration said.

 

 

 

 

 

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