Taking note of the tussle between senior ministers in the BJP-led government and the secretaries heading their departments, chief minister Devendra Fadnavis conducted a massive reshuffle of key bureaucrats in the state administration.
Fadnavis has changed secretaries in charge of finance, rural development department, higher and technical education, food and civil supplies and water resources, in his first major shake-up of the bureaucracy since the government came to power. He has also transferred collectors of several districts, including Mumbai city, Mumbai suburban and Thane.
Significantly, the CM has also transferred SVR Srinivas, who was in charge of the roads department in the civic body, as the managing director of state undertaking SICOM. Srinivas was the additional municipal commissioner in the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation. His department has been mired in controversy, after a probe found alleged irregularities in road works.
According to Mantralaya sources, finance minister Sudhir Mungantiwar, education minister Vinod Tawde, food and civil supplies minister Girish Bapat and water resources minister Girish Mahajan were not getting along with the secretaries and wanted new officers as administrative heads of their departments. The state’s finance secretary, SK Srivastava, has been transferred to the home department as the additional chief secretary in charge of transport and ports. In fact, the entire finance department has got a new team, with additional chief secretary DK Jain as its administrative head.
PK Deshmukh will be the new secretary of rural development department, while Mahesh Pathak will head the food and civil supplies department in place of Deepak Kapoor, whom Bapat wanted to be shifted out. Former Mumbai civic chief Sitaram Kunte will be the principal secretary, higher and technical education. Water resources, a key department that governs irrigation projects, will be handled by principal secretary IS Chahal, while housing secretary Satish Gavai will now handle the environment department.
Praveen Darade, secretary in the chief minister’s office, has been shifted to the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA). Darade is in good books of Fadnavis and his appointment to MMRDA is seen as the latter’s attempt to give a boost to pending infrastructure projects taken up by the infrastructure authority. Ashish Kumar Singh, who was in charge of the chief minister’s office during the tenure of Prithviraj Chavan, will now be the principal secretary of public works department, which is in turmoil following a series of scams.
Among those transferred are collectors of Mumbai city and suburban districts Shaila A and Shekhar Channe respectively. Thane collector Ashwini Joshi will be the Mumbai city collector, while Deependra Kushwah will be the collector of Mumbai suburban.