Arun Buch, a 75-year-old resident of Gandhinagar, has achieved a unique distinction. He has been listed in the Limca Book of Records for “completing the longest service as personal assistant to minister”.
The certificate, signed by Limca book editor Vijay Ghosh, states: “Buch of Gandhinagar who joined the government service in 1958 completed the longest service as personal assistant to minister, having served 35 years as PA to six different ministers in Gujarat government before retirement in 1995. He had been appointed PA to a minister in the very first government of the state on May 26, 1960.”
Buch, who was born in Rajkot, lives in Gandhinagar with his wife Jyostana, a retired government employee. His daughter Chetna is married to a Gandhinagar resident.
He began his service in the Directorate of Ayurveda on April 4, 1958. “Following an interview, I was chosen to work in the Chief Minister’s Office. However, I decided to join as PA to minister Bahadur Patel. I worked with seven ministers, all of whom had a down-to-earth approach. They would visit remote areas of the state and interact with the poor,” said the 75-year-old.
About Bahadur Patel, he recollected: “When Patel’s term ended, he had no money for the fare to return to his native place. His friends gave him the Rs 110 he needed to reach Kareliya village in Vansda taluka. He built a hut on his farm and stayed there. Patel, who was a minister for 11 years, had returned to Kareliya because he did not have the money (Rs 3,800) to contest polls.”
About minister Parmanand Ojha, he revealed, “Ojha was from Una taluka in Junagadh. A lot of villagers would visit his bungalow. Instead of dipping into the state coffers, as many politicians do, Ojha sold off 2 acres of his farmland so that he could take care of his guests.” Buch added, “The ministers cared for their people. During the 1982 floods in Ahmedabad, the railway station was flooded. Amarsinh Chaudhary — the then irrigation minister — waded through the water, spoke to residents and got them moved to safety. This decision saved the lives of 600 people.”
“Today, most ministers talk only to industrialists not the common people. This is a difference seen in Gujarat as it enters its 51st year,” he said.
Lending personal assistance
1960 to 1967 Bahadur Patel, deputy minister, forest, road and building, irrigation, port, agriculture
1967 to 1971 Parmanand Oja, minister forest, transport
1971 Himat Rajavadi, prohibition
1972 to 1975 Amarsinh Chaudhary, minister road and building, irrigation, tribal
1976 to 1980 Rasikchandra Acharya, minister law, jail, urban development
1980 to 1990 Mahant Vijaydas, minister agriculture, water resource, road and building
1991 to 1995 minister Jashu Barad, water supply, energy, water resource