“It is tough to stand up for what is right, especially when there is resistance from all sides… We should not feel that nothing is in my hands. If an officer feels like that, what will the common man do?”
Whether it was locking down the office of A Manju, the Minister-in-charge of the Hassan district, or raising a voice against her untimely and abrupt transfer, firebrand IAS officer, Rohini Sindhuri, isn’t afraid of authority.
Time and again, this gutsy officer has made headlines not only for running successful campaigns in the districts she was posted to but also for standing strong as a gritty and determined role model who refuses to bow down under political pressure.
Here’s all you need to know about IAS Rohini Sindhuri:
- The 33-year-old IAS officer was born on 30 May 1984 in Andhra Pradesh.
- She graduated with a B. Tech in Chemical engineering from the University of Hyderabad.
- An IAS officer from the batch of 2009, she secured the 43rd rank in the UPSC exam.
- She first assumed charge as the Assistant Commissioner of Tumakuru from 29 August 2011 to 31 August 2012. She then moved on to become the Commissioner of the Urban Development department in the district for short term from 31 August 2012 to 31 December 2012.
- Following that, she was appointed the Director of Rural Development and Panchayat Raj Department, Self Employment Project in Bengaluru for a year.
- She assumed charge as the CEO of Mandya Zilla Panchayat in May 2014 where she is widely known for her exceptional work under the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan. Her work impressed the Union government enough to select her to train district collectors/deputy commissioners of various states in New Delhi on implementing Swachh Bharat initiatives.
- She later served as the Managing Director of Karnataka Food and Civil Supplies Corporation Limited in September 2015, in Bengaluru, until she was appointed as the District Collector of Hassan district in July 2017.
Work and Accomplishments
As the CEO of Mandya Zilla Parishad, Rohini successfully launched a drive to provide individual toilets to over 1.02 lakh households between 2014–15.
She managed to construct over 80,000 individual toilets across the district, which helped it clinch the number one position in the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan in the state and rank third in the entire country.
Rohini was also lauded for successfully utilising the Central government’s grant of Rs 65 crore for drinking water. Alongside her team, she instituted over a 100 pure drinking water units across the district. Her work impressed the Union government yet again and earned the district an additional grant of 6 crores to widen the reach.
One of her popular strategies to help people in the Mandya ZP inculcate good sanitation measures was the Munjaane programme, where Rohini would personally meet the villagers early morning and promote the cause of constructing individual toilets.
She was also praised by the CM Siddaramaiah at a meeting of Deputy Commissioners and Zilla Panchayat Chief Executive officers for executing a crop survey in connection with farmers’ crop insurance scheme in November 2017.
Fighting political bureaucracy
However, just like many honest IAS officers, her journey to success has been anything, but easy.
As the District Election Officer, Rohini recently made headlines, when she locked down A Manju’s office in the PWD Inspection Bungalow. He is the Minister-in-charge of Hassan district and the office was reportedly locked from outside while some staff members continued to clear pending files inside.
Rohini issued notices to the minister as well as the PWD Department for using government space for election work which is a violation of the Model Code of Conduct and is effective from the declaration of poll dates.
Needless to say, her clashes with political personalities are being termed one of the reasons for her abrupt transfer. That being said and done, the IAS officer isn’t giving up. She is fighting for her right to stay and continue the work she painstakingly started in the district.
Fighting against her transfer
Rohini challenged the state government’s decision to transfer her in January merely eight months after she was appointed as the Deputy Commissioner of the Hassan district. She appealed to the Karnataka High Court and the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) for the same.
After the Election Commission requested the state government to postpone her transfer until the final publication of electoral rolls, her transfer order was withdrawn on March 5. However, it only took 48 hours for the same transfer order to be re-issued.
The HC recently directed the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT), Bengaluru, to examine the application Rohini filed against her transfer after it was brought to their notice that despite asking her to submit a representation to the chief secretary, the CAT did not take any decision on it. And her battle continues.
In an interview with the Bangalore Mirror, Rohini recollected a similar instance in the past where she was abruptly transferred from Mandya, and said—
“I was doing very well, and it was just one year, three months and some random guy was complaining about something. When they can’t find anything, they’ll say ‘Gaurava Kotilla’ [did not get respect]. What does it even mean?…We are here to solve people’s issues. We were supposed to declare the district Open Defecation Free, and I had only requested for two to three months so that I could finish the work. But they wanted to know what my interest was in staying.”
She expressed the challenges IAS officers face when they get posted to a district and are transferred prematurely saying, “By the time you put an administration in place, form a team and start working, you are asked to leave. I want to work, and I should be given the time and space to do something.”
While most officers in her place abide by the rule book and pack their bags to move to another place and start from scratch, Rohini’s is embarking on the road less taken. “When we have the legal backing that says we need to be given a tenure in public interest, then that has to be respected. Nobody is above the law,” she told the Bangalore Mirror.
IAS Rohini truly shines as a beacon of light for women who want to establish themselves in the civil services and do not lose focus of their jobs even in the face of political pressure.
(Edited by Gayatri Mishra)