Senior IAS officer of 1989 AGMUT cadre, Atal Dulloo, will be the new Chief Secretary of Jammu and Kashmir from December 1, after the Ministry of Home Affairs Wednesday appointed him to succeed Arun Kumar Mehta, who is retiring after attaining the age of superannuation.
The order comes nine days after Dulloo was repatriated to his parent (AGMUT) cadre on November 20 by the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet, following a request from MHA, where he was serving as Secretary, Department of Border Management. He had gone on central deputation from J&K in June this year.
Before proceeding on central deputation, Dulloo was serving as Financial Commissioner, Agriculture Production Department in J&K.
He had served the Centre on deputation earlier too, as Joint Secretary in the Department of Rural Development, for five years.
A seasoned bureaucrat known for his cordial style of functioning, he has held various important positions in Jammu and Kashmir. He also has extensive working experience in various districts, including as a sub-divisional magistrate in Ladakh and Deputy Commissioner of at least four districts.
During the pandemic, he played a key role in expansion of medical infrastructure.
Given that he is a son of the soil, his appointment could help bridge the gap between bureaucrats and the local public, which had widened since the abrogation of Article 370. The government’s decisions on matters of property tax, smart meters and toll plazas have also invited public ire.
The new Chief Secretary, with his local connect, will be expected to fill this gap in the UT, where the term of urban local bodies has come to an end without any decision on fresh elections. The term of panchayats is also ending early next year and elections to these rural local bodies are likely to be delayed.