As the financial capital of the country continues to reel under the raging crisis of coronavirus outbreak, the Maha Vikas Aghadi government in the state has shunted the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation commissioner Praveen Pardeshi to urban development. He is replaced by Iqbal Chahal, who is currently Principal Secretary in the Urban Development Department, to take charge of the BMC.
The move came amidst an intensifying bout of coronavirus crisis in Mumbai where the number of COVID-19 cases is growing at an alarming rate. Mumbai, the capital of Maharashtra, has also emerged as the epicentre of the coronavirus epidemic in the state, with the city alone registering a staggering 11,394 cases and 437 fatalities.
While Pardeshi has been transferred as the new Additional Chief Secretary (Urban Development), Iqbal Chahal has been appointed as the new civic commissioner’s post to suppress the irrepressible growth of the infection in the city.
In addition to Pardeshi, the axe has also fallen on the Additional Commissioner of the BMC, Abbasaheb Jarhad, who has been appointed as the new relief and rehabilitation secretary. Former Thane Municipal Commissioner, Sanjeev Jaiswal, who was waiting for the posting, is the new Additional Commissioner of the BMC.
Relief and Rehabilitation Secretary Kishorraje Nimbalkar has been transferred as the Public Works Department Secretary, replacing Manoj Saunik who will be additional CS in the Finance Department. Saunik was overlooking the Public Works and Finance Department.
The rejig in the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation(BMC) amidst the rising coronavirus crisis in Mumbai is a scathing indictment of the sham “Worli Koliwada containment model”. A few weeks ago, many Shiv Sena members, including Rajya Sabha member Priyanka Chaturvedi, made dubious assertions to tout “Worli Koliwada Model” as a perfect containment model to be replicated elsewhere across the country to stem the spread of the virus. However, the repeated and continuous increase in the number of coronavirus patients reported in the city punctured the lofty claims made by the Shiv Sena leaders, who were accused of running a PR campaign to cover their inadequacies and failures.
The sham of Worli Koliwada model
Of late, an attempt was being made by the Maha Vikas Aghadi government in Maharashtra to tout the Worli Koliwada Model as a perfect example of the containment zone in the country to cover up its apparent shortfalls in dealing with the raging coronavirus crisis in Maharashtra. Recently, a five-member Inter-Ministerial Central Team (IMCT), headed by an additional secretary, Manoj Joshi, was on a two-day visit in Mumbai on April 21 to assess the state’s preparedness in battling the coronavirus outbreak.
However, as the IMCT visit in Mumbai was about to conclude, a spurious report was published in the Times of India claiming that the IMCT team which was in the city to review the state’s readiness in fighting the spread of the coronavirus “felt” that Worli Koliwada can be a perfect model for the rest of the country in containing the coronavirus outbreak.
The article published in the Times of India cites a press release issued by the Chief Minister’s Office (CMO) to claim that additional secretary, Manoj Joshi hailed the Worli Koliwada model as the best example of the coronavirus-free zone in the country, asserting that the model is worth replicating in other areas to break the virus chain.
Essentially, this meant that the article published in the Times of India was based on the inputs from the Maharashtra state government and not from the additional secretary Manoj Joshi himself. OpIndia spoke to a few officials who denied the knowledge of any such model existing and had expressed apprehensions that Joshi could have been misquoted. While our attempts to reach Mr Joshi failed, sources have claimed that Times Of India has misquoted the official, presumably, due to the press release by the state government