State transport secretary C Sangitrao is set to wrap up his innings as a bureaucrat in style.
Sangitrao, who retires in a month, will go to New Zealand and Australia for a week-long study tour. He will accompany transport and ports minister Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil and Maharashtra Maritime Board chief executive officer Ashwani Kumar. The trip that begins on September 29 includes a brief halt at Singapore for a conference.
The minister and his team plan to study the provisions made at ports in New Zealand and Australia to avoid incidents like the recent collision of two vessels, MSC Chitra and MV Khalijia III, off the Mumbai coast. The collision led to an oil spill that authorities are still trying to clean.
The tour also involves studying how the two countries have planned their passenger water transport projects. The news of Sangitrao’s trip has got many officials wondering how taking a soon-to-retire bureaucrat on a study tour will help the department.
Vikhe-Patil, however, already has plans to rehabilitate Sangitrao. Confirming Sangitrao’s participation in the excursion, Vikhe-Patil said the government planned to retain him as an advisor to the ports department. He said Sangitrao has been instrumental in the latest ports’ policy and knows about the problems ports.
“Instead of appointing an advisor from outside, we are planning to retain Sangitrao as an advisor to the ports department after he retires,” Vikhe-Patil told Hindustan Times. Sangitrao did not respond to phone calls and text messages. The tour was scheduled for September 27 but was postponed because of the judgment in the Ayodhya land title suit.
Vikhe-Patil and other senior bureaucrats visited the European port cities of Rotterdam and Antwerp in June to study the facilities there.
The state government is looking at creating better facilities at smaller ports and at 500 jetties across the state.