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Home / Mumbai News / Mumbai Metro chief Ashwini Bhide among 20 IAS officers transferred in Maharashtra

Mumbai Metro chief Ashwini Bhide among 20 IAS officers transferred in Maharashtra

MMRC chief Ashwini Bhide, who is credited for implementing the project rapidly, had invited the criticism of environmentalists after the MMRC felled more than 2,000 trees in the dead of the night in Aarey Milk Colony for a Metro car shed in October last year.

mumbai Updated: Jan 22, 2020 06:13 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Mumbai
MMRC chief Ashwini Bhide at a Metro construction site in  Mumbai.
MMRC chief Ashwini Bhide at a Metro construction site in Mumbai. (Aalok Soni / HT File )

In a major reshuffle of Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officers on Tuesday, Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray transferred Ashwini Bhide from the post of chief of Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation (MMRC), which is implementing the Metro-3 project.

Bhide, who is credited for implementing the project rapidly, had invited the criticism of environmentalists after the MMRC felled more than 2,000 trees in the dead of the night in Aarey Milk Colony for a Metro car shed in October last year.

Ranjit Singh Deol, vice-chairman and MD, Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC), has been appointed the new MMRC MD . “Bhide has not been given a posting yet and is expected to be given a new responsibility soon,” said an official from Mantralaya. HT tried to contact Bhide for a comment, but she had not responded till the time of going to press .

She is among 20 senior officers who have been transferred, along with Tukaram Mundhe, known for his frequent transfers. Mundhe has been appointed as the head of the Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC).

Bhide’s transfer out of the MMRC is assumed to be significant in the wake of the state government’s first-day decision to stall the Metro car shed project at Aarey.

CM Thackeray and his son and environment minister Aaditya Thackeray had criticised the government’s decision of felling trees for building the shed. Thackeray’s Sena was part of the then government led by Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) Devendra Fadnavis. Thackeray had announced a rethink of the car shed if elected to power after the Assembly polls held in October last year. Bhide had taken to social media, justifying the move to cut the tree. She faced criticism by environment activists on social media.

Known for her efficient handling of infrastructure projects, Bhide, a 1995-batch IAS officer, has served in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) since 2008, barring a year in 2014-15, and was in charge of several key projects, including the eastern freeway between P D’Mello Road and Ghatkopar. In January 2015, she was appointed as MD, MMRC, a joint venture between Maharashtra government and Centre to construct Metro-3.

Meanwhile, Mundhe, who is known for his frequent transfers, has now been appointed to head the NMC, which is ruled by the BJP. Mundhe, who is a 2005-IAS officer, was transferred seven times from November 2014 to January 2019, during the Fadnavis government and was posted as project director, Maharashtra State Aids Control Society. Mundhe was posted as Solapur collector, Nashik and Navi Mumbai Municipal Commissioner and had invited the ire of elected representatives in the bodies with his decisions. Like Bhide, he, too, is regarded as an upright officer.

Among other 18 IAS officers transferred are Mumbai city collector Shivaji Jondhale, who has been posted in the general administration department (GAD) in Mantralaya. Rajeev Nivatkar, joint secretary in chief secretary’s office, has been appointed as the Mumbai city collector. Excise commissioner Prajakta Lavangare-Verma is now appointed as head of the Marathi language department. Kantilal Umap will replace her as excise commissioner.

Pune municipal commissioner Saurabh Rao has been appointed as sugar commissioner and will take over from Shekhar Gaikwad. Gaikwad is the new chief of the Pune Municipal Corporaiton.