Municipal Commissioner Jairaj Phatak has been transferred to the Central Government as additional secretary in the Panchayati Raj Ministry. The order was issued on Wednesday.
Phatak, who has been the city’s municipal commissioner for the past two and a half years, is known for his quick handling of administration and outspoken nature.
A 1978 batch IAS officer from Maharashtra cadre, Phatak has earlier worked as secretary for rural development and food, civil supplies department. He also had a long tenure as school education secretary.
“If Chief Minister Ashok Chavan relieves me now, I will hand over charge to R.A. Rajeev, additional municipal commissioner, and join the new post in a week or will wait for the new chief minister to take charge,” said Phatak. “I would like to work at the national level.”
It is not yet clear who would be Phatak’s successor as the new government that will come to power will be expected to take a decision.
Among those whose names are being taken are MMRDA metropolitan commissioner Ratnakar Gaikwad, Urban Development secretary T.C. Benjamin and Principal Secretary to the chief minister, Swadheen Kshatriya, said sources. “Ideally, we will wait for the new chief minister to select Phatak’s successor as the civic chief is a key post,” said a Mantralaya official requesting anonymity.
Meanwhile, sources from Shiv Sena said the party would not let Phatak leave BMC if it comes to power. Phatak is Sena’s potential candidate for chief secretary’s post in case the saffron combine comes to power.