Bihar bureaucrat gets flak for calling journalists brokers

March 31st, 2008 - 1:49 pm ICT by admin  

Patna, March 31 (IANS) An Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer of the Bihar cadre has stirred up a controversy by alleging that some journalists in the state act as brokers. In her first press conference after becoming the district magistrate of Siwan, Bandana Preyashi Saturday said: “Patrakar dalal hain (journalists are brokers). I can say this with my own experience in Barh (a sub-division of Patna district).”

The 31-year-old took over as the district magistrate two days ago following the transfer of 67 IAS officers by the state government.

Preyashi, who was posted as sub divisional offer at Barh a year ago, said: “In Barh, journalists are brokers. They become happy after getting a contract for some public work. If they are denied a contract, they publish rubbish reports against the administration. I don’t know whether this is happening here or not.”

Soon after the IAS officer’s remarks, the Bihar Working Journalists Union demanded a public apology from her and asked the state government to initiate action against her for defaming journalists.

Shayam Rajak, spokesperson of opposition Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), said Preyashi’s remarks against journalists had proved that bureaucrats had been given a free hand to humiliate elected representatives and journalists.

“Under the Nitish Kumar government, bureaucrats are behaving like real power holders,” Rajak said.

Congress leader Premchand Mishra demanded that the government transfer her from Siwan.

“How can we expect an IAS officer like her to be the district magistrate? She should be asked to explain her remarks,” Mishra said.

Despite repeated attempt by IANS to get her reaction to the controversy, Preyashi was unavailable.

Till recently, Preyashi was the darling of the media in Bihar for her bold, strict and no-nonsense stand on issues.

She was in the news last year when she alleged that Railway Protection Force (RPF) Deputy Inspector General P.J. Rawal had misbehaved with her and her elder sister Sujatha Preyashi on a train.

Earlier in 2007, Preyashi’s ire was felt by don-turned-ruling Janata Dal-United (JD-U) legislator Anant Singh. Known as Chhote Sarkar in the area, the lawmaker from Mokama found all his food grain godowns sealed by the official after the state government ordered all the godowns in the state to be shifted to market committees.

She was also famous because there had not been a single violent incident during the panchayat polls in Barh and Mokama in 2006 when Preyashi was the sub divisional officer.

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