SRINAGAR – Two Indian Administrative Service (IAS) service officers are heading thirty administrative departments in the newly carved out Union Territory of Ladakh.
Rigzin Samphel and Saugat Biswas, both IAS officers, have been allocated 15 departments by the administration of Union Territory of Ladakh after it came into existence.
While Samphel is heading important departments like Finance, Tourism, General Administration Department, Health and Medical Education, Saugat Biswas holds the charge of Planning, Law , School Education , Housing and Urban Development departments.
Biswas is also functioning as divisional commissioner of the region spread over Leh and Kargil districts. Samphel, an IAS officer of UP cadre, is himself native of Ladakh region.
Before being brought to J&K by Mehbooba Mufti-led government, he was special secretary in UP CM Yogi Adityanath’s secretariat. He held important positions like administrative secretary of Tourism in the erstwhile State before being sent to Ladakh region days before UTs of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh came into existence.
Biswas, an IAS officer of J&K cadre, was sent as first Divisional Commissioner to Ladakh after the region was granted divisional status by Governor Satya Pal Malik. The region was granted Divisional status months before the Centre separated it from Jammu and Kashmir by giving it UT status.
The all- important portfolio of Home department in the sensitive region of Ladakh, which shares border with China and Pakistan, is being looked after by advisor to Lieutenant Governor. Umang Narula, an IAS officer of J&K cadre, was posted as first advisor to LG of Ladakh on October 30 this year. Narula is also discharging his responsibilities as Chief Secretary of the region. “He is advisor-cum-CS,” an official said.
He was brought in by Governor NN Vohra as his Principal Secretary in 2017 when he was serving as managing director of Indian Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC).
Ladakh became Union Territory on October 31 in follow-up to the Jammu and Kashmir Re-Organisation Act which bifurcated the erstwhile State into two UTs. The Re-Organisation Act was cleared by the Parliament on October 5 after BJP-led Central government scrapped Article 370 under which J&K enjoyed special status. Under the Reorganisation Act, Ladakh region would be without an elected Legislative Assembly. (KNO)