Top health official removed in BiharUpdated: May 20, 2020 23:09 IST
Amid the raging coronavirus pandemic which has so far infected over 1600 people in the state, the Bihar government Wednesday replaced Sanjay Kumar with Udai Singh Kumawat as principal secretary (health), a notification issued with the state’s general administrative department (GAD) said, but cited no reason for the sudden shuffle.
While Kumar is a 1990-batch Indian administrative service (IAS) officer, Kumawat is from 1993 batch. Kumar will replace Kumawat in the state’s tourism department, where the latter was principal secretary.
Kumawat was posted with the tourism department as its principal secretary since August last year. After serving as joint secretary with the Union finance ministry, He was repatriated to Bihar in August 2017.
A senior officer of the Central government alleged that a Kumawat was sent back to his home cadre of Bihar before completing his deputation stint, owing to his controversial stint in the ministry. He was also a member of the special investigation team (SIT) on Black Money Commission by the Centre.
A section of senior bureaucrats claimed chief minister Nitish Kumar was unhappy over the way the drive against Covid was being carried out by the health department under Sanjay Kumar’s leadership. “The department was failing to meet the target of conducting 10,000 tests for Covid every day after the massive surge of migrants in the state despite the CM’s insistence. We were able to conduct around only 2,000 tests daily. Doctors and medical staff, the frontline warriors, had also reportedly complained against the officer for taking unreasonable action against their colleagues,” a senior official said.
The health department was also unable to ensure opening of private hospitals to resume its normal operations despite repeated reminders from the CM during the videoconferencing with senior officers on Covid.
The NItish Kumar government has been under fire from the Opposition over “poor” facilities at quarantine centres, many of which reported incidents of inmates breaking out and fleeing.