BMC chief Praveen Pardeshi transferred amid peak pandemic chaos in Mumbai

Updated: May 09, 2020, 08:30 IST | Dharmendra Jore | Mumbai

As cases rise, pathetic state in hospitals exposed, and Opposition wanting a scapegoat, govt rings in sweeping changes in BMC

Praveen Pardeshi; Iqbal Chahal. Pic/Twitter
Praveen Pardeshi; Iqbal Chahal. Pic/Twitter

AMID allegations of mismanagement of the COVID-19 crisis, the state has completely overhauled the top rung of the BMC by transferring civic chief Praveen Pardeshi and two others on Friday. Iqbal Singh Chahal replaces Pardeshi.

In addition to urban development, Pardeshi would also look after the water resources department. Pardeshi, a celebrated disaster management expert, who shot into limelight after managing the aftermath of the Latur earthquake very effectively as the collector, has been the most sought-after bureaucrat in planning relief and rehabilitation.

Ashwini Bhide too was waiting for a posting after her Metro III issue with Shiv Sena and a subsequent 'punishment' transfer. Along with many other IAS colleagues, she was deputed to the BMC for a special task after the Coronavirus break-out. She would now be a full-fledged empowered officer. Ex-Thane civic chief Sanjeev Jaiswal has also joined Bhide as an additional commissioner. He was waiting for a posting after leaving Thane where he served a record time.

Abasaheb Jarhad and Jayshree Bhoj, who were recently appointed in the BMC, have been shifted to make space for Bhide and Jaiswal. Two additional commissioners — P Velrasu and Suresh Kankani — have been spared.

Clashes in Mantralaya

Murmurs of clashes between Pardeshi and his political and administrative bosses in Mantralaya seemed to have proven right even as the opposition parties said on Friday that the Shiv Sena-led government was trying to find a scapegoat for covering the failure of the political set-up in Mumbai.

Sion hospital incident

Iqbal Singh Chahal
Iqbal Singh Chahal

Since Mumbai's woes have been unending with the spread of the virus and the expose of BMC-run Sion hospital where bodies and patients were placed together in one ward and a COVID-19 patient's escape, made the government red-faced. Pardeshi and his team of additional commissioners, who were new to the city, invited criticism time and again. Sources said Pardeshi had several arguments with chief secretary Ajoy Mehta who preceded him as BMC chief. Pardeshi served as Devendra Fadnavis's principal secretary in the CMO before getting BMC chief's post in the previous political regime. Considering his seniority, he has also been in the reckoning for the CS office.

'Transfers no solution'

Jarhad replaced relief and rehabilitation secretary Kishorraje Nimbalkar who has been transferred as Public Works Department (PWD) secretary. Manoj Saunik will be an additional CS of the all-important finance department. He has been holding dual charge of PWD and finance. Bhoj has been sent to Maharashtra Small Scale Industries Development Corporation as its managing director. Opposition leader in the legislative council Praveen Darekar said the government was masking its failure by finding scapegoats. "Transferring bureaucrats isn't the right approach to mend things. The government should be able to make good policies and make bureaucrats implement them," he said.

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