Development Ahmed's priority

Ranchi, Jan. 22: Governor's adviser Madhukar Gupta assumed charge today, calling upon Syed Ahmed to discuss the challenges that lay ahead in a meeting that was attended by Gupta's counterpart K. Vijay Kumar, who took over yesterday.

The advisers have called all top state bureaucrats for a meeting tomorrow at 11pm to get feedback about the functioning of various government departments.

A former Union home secretary, Gupta drove to Raj Bhavan soon after landing at Birsa Munda airport this evening. Sources said wide-ranging issues, including preparing a budget, figured during the talks.

Proper execution of centrally-sponsored welfare and development schemes, especially those meant for Naxalite affected areas, improving public distribution system, initiating steps to fill up job vacancies in government offices et al were reportedly on the Raj Bhavan's priority list. A communiqu� added that new measures on how to speed up development of rural areas too were discussed.

"Deteriorating law and order and Naxalite violence are important concerns of the governor. As both Gupta and Kumar have vast experience in handling these problems, positive changes in Jharkhand may be expected in the coming days," said a senior Raj Bhavan official.

"I know the state has not been able to utilise much of the plan budget funds so far even though the end of the fiscal is only two months away. Utilisation of funds and controlling Naxalite menace would be our prime concerns," Gupta told newsmen soon after landing in Ranchi.

Earlier, the governor also had detailed discussions with chief secretary S.K. Choudhary on wide-ranging issues. The meeting went on for nearly three hours. The chief secretary was repeatedly seen coming out of the governor's chamber to gather details of information being sought.

Choudhary, however, refused to talk later. "It is not possible for me to disclose all that the governor tells me during such meetings," he said.

A senior bureaucrat said the governor was concentrating more on gathering information on different subjects. "As both the chief secretary and director general of police are due to retire in a few weeks and both his advisers have just arrived, the governor is doing his home work before finalising priorities," he added.

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