ITANAGAR: Lower Subansiri district in Arunachal Pradesh currently has the unique distinction of having two deputy commissioners- one occupying the DC’s office and the other yet to vacate the official bungalow.

On May 2, the state government had ordered the transfer of Kemo Lollen as deputy commissioner of the district, replacing him with former ADC of Balijan, Chukhu Takar. No sooner had the order been passed and news of Lollen’s transfer was made public, controversy erupted.

A day after the transfer order was issued, sections of the Land Affected People Forum (LAPF) of Joram to Koloriang stretch of the Trans-Arunachal Highway (TAH) called an indefinite strike, demanding the cancellation of Lollen’s transfer order.

The LAPF had claimed that Lollen’s transfer will lead to roadblocks in the ongoing land acquisition process which it said is going “smoothly and in a transparent manner”. The forum had alleged that the order was issued “with mala fide intention to delay the process of land acquisition”.

His transfer was also opposed by the All Lower Subansiri Youth Association, which said that Lollen was reinstated as deputy commissioner for a second term after the completion of his first three years owing to public demand. It had said that there were no complaints against him from the public.

This past Monday, protesters from the Pistana and Deed administrative circles put up a road blockade on a section of the highway, blocking traffic movement to the district headquarter and neighbouring districts. Traffic movement has resumed since.

Lollen had earlier filed a petition in the Itanagar bench of the Gauhati High Court seeking a revocation of his transfer order. On Monday, he issued an “Office Memo” citing the court’s verdict where he claimed that he is still the deputy commissioner of the district and that “all official correspondence, files, etc, shall continue to be endorsed” by him.

On the very same day, Chukhu Takar too issued an “Office Memo” stating that it is he who is the current deputy commissioner.

Takar’s memo said that Lollen’s memo issued on Monday had “misinterpreted” the court’s order and that the High Court had actually “directed to maintain status quo” of the state government’s transfer order. He also said that Lollen was relieved of his post with effect from May 3.

Sources in the know informed that Takar is currently the one who is visiting the deputy commissioner’s office at Hapoli and that Lollen was yet to vacate the official bungalow.

Both claimants to the deputy commissioner’s post refused to comment on the matter, pending a hearing on May 9.