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Aiyar lashes out at top bureaucrats

April 13, 2006 17:51 IST

A couple of months after exiting the Petroleum Ministry, Mani Shankar Aiyar on Thursday lashed out at the way the top bureaucrats functioned in the ministry.

Speaking at a seminar in New Delhi, Aiyar, who was shifted to Panchayati Raj and Sports portfolio in January this year in a major Cabinet reshuffle, admitted that there was a "turf war" between him and the officials there.

But he took no names. "There was a lot of turf war. The top IAS officials there were not willing to listen to a minister who came from foreign service," said Aiyar, who was a career diplomat before joining politics.

"The turf war will continue as the discourtesy of these IAS officials is endemic to their breed," the Panchayati Raj Minister said at the seminar on 'Emerging Trends in Sino-Indian Relations' organised by a think-tank, Centre for Policy Alternatives.

He noted that his departure was followed by the exit of an IFS official from the Petroleum Ministry. He was apparently referring to Talmiz Ahmed, who was additional secretary (international cooperation) in the ministry, now tipped to be shifted to the Indian Council of World Affairs.

 Accusing top officials of the petroleum ministry and oil PSUs of lacking "a more wider vision," Aiyar said this was evident by the winding up of the Oil Advisory Committee set up by him to suggest integration and restructuring of public sector oil companies.

"In the changing geo-political scenario, there should be greater coordination between the Ministry of Petroleum and the Ministry of External Affairs," said Aiyar, who is also Minister for Youth Affairs and Sports.

Aiyar hoped his successor Murli Deora will continue with the policies and programmes implemented during his tenure.

"When Murli Deora took over, he had told journalists that only the minister has changed, not the policies and programmes. I hope it will remain so," he said.

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