Within the police department, printing and stationery is considered the worst, the most loopline of postings. It is a matter of coincidence that two senior IPS officers, both hailing from Bihar, now find themselves manning this department in the two Telugu states.
Last month, the Jaganmohan Reddy government shunted out former DGP RP Thakur as Commissioner for Printing and Stationery, a punishment posting for allegedly toeing the Telugu Desam line in the run-up to the elections in Andhra Pradesh. Now the DG of Telangana Prisons, VK Singh has been posted to the Printing and Stationery department.
But there is a difference. While there was a clear political angle to Thakur’s transfer, Singh is taken aback by this posting given the good work he has done in the Telangana Prisons department. Singh not only cracked down on corruption within the Prisons system, his reforms also drew praise from the Bureau of Police Research and Development that held them as a model for the rest of India.
Through the Vidyadanam scheme, literate inmates were encouraged to teach illiterate prisoners. Monthly exams were conducted and since 2014, over a lakh prisoners were made literate. Since last year, 15000 beggars on the streets of Hyderabad city were removed, rehabilitated, sent back home or provided employment. Some 300 of them are living at the home provided by the prisons department.
Since a stint in jail is considered a taboo for employment after they step out, Singh found them jobs at petrol pumps. To encourage livelihood options, `My Nation’ outlets were set up in villages to sell products manufactured by inmates. All these measures also drew praise from the media and international agencies.
So why this posting to a department that offers no scope to do anything positive?
“It is a closed department. In fact, I was dumped in the Prisons department thinking I will languish there. But I converted it into a focal posting with our work there. At least there was scope to do something positive in Jails but in Printing, there is no such scope. I have to only meditate there and improve my health,” VK Singh told Filter Kaapi.
Like anyone would have, Singh was obviously expecting a better posting after his work in Telangana prisons. So is this posting because he may have rubbed powerful people on the wrong side?
“I have not rubbed anyone the wrong way. I had full support from the Jails and the police department. This must have come from the government. Since 1991, successive governments have given me the same treatment. So I have come to the conclusion that there must be something wrong with me. Why should I find fault with others? Despite giving astonishing results, drawing praise from different quarters for the quality of work, if the government in its wisdom feels I am not doing anything worthwhile, what can I say,” says Singh.
Singh who served as DG Prisons for five years and still has two more years of service left, was transferred while he is on leave in Patna. The DG-rank officer sees the messaging in the fact that no IPS officer has been given full time charge of the Prisons department.
“They basically wanted to transfer me out,” he says.