Amid slogans hailing Vijay Kumar Dev, various administration officials and city residents bid a tearful adieu to the outgoing adviser on Sunday.
In a last-ditch attempt, the farewell was followed by a signature campaign which was to be sent to the Prime Minister’s Office to request for the cancellation of his transfer.
Dev, who delivered a speech in Punjabi, said that the city was his mehbooba (lover). “I want every officer to love Chandigarh the way a young boy loves his lover. A year ago, I also started romancing Chandigarh as my lover and today I realise that even my mehbooba (lover) is in love with me,” he said, adding that from Delhi, he would be maintaining a long-distance relationship. He even recited a few romantic couplets.
Hinting at the challenges to be faced by his successor Parimal Rai, the outgoing adviser said, “I feel Chandigarh residents won’t be accepting any lower benchmarks now. Today I realise a wave has been created in Chandigarh in which high benchmarks have been established and they — from a labourer to an industrialist — won’t accept any lower services now.” New UT Adviser Parimal Rai will join on Monday. He will be coming to the UT guest house at 10.30 pm.
Dev administered an oath to the audience to stay healthy. “My heart pained when I saw the reports of cancer and obesity, how the city was suffering from these serious ailments. If in real sense you want to give a tribute to me, I want Chandigarh residents to be healthy,” he said, adding that he had directed the Education Secretary to make one-hour period of physical training mandatory in all the schools.
Recalling that he was told Chandigarh was a city of critics where even a small step by the administration would be criticised, he said, “I realised that if you take citizens along, there cannot by any criticism.”
Before the UT Adviser finished his speech asking residents to remember him in the laughter show of Jaspal Bhatti which the administration had started, members of various associations came on the stage to garland him. Slogans of “Vijay Dev Zindabad” were raised when he entered or left the hall. He signed off by saying that he might be transferred but nobody could take away this love from him.
Compared to Randhawa
A function was organised for outgoing Adviser Vijay Kumar Dev in a hotel at Zirakpur in the afternoon. Dev was compared to then chief commissioner M S Randhawa, and most of those present wept.
Only Mayor Arun Sood and BJP councillors Heera Negi and Satinder Singh came to attend the function. Other Congress and BJP leaders were conspicuous by their absence.
Home Secretary Anurag Aggarwal said that it was Dev who mended the neglected Capitol Complex.