Six months before the second wave of the coronavirus outbreak hit Maharashtra, veteran bureaucrat Mahesh Zagade had reportedly warned the state government of a possible resurgence of the COVID-19 pandemic and had suggested measures to tackle it. But the government turned a blind eye to his suggestions, resulting in the crisis that is currently grappling the state.
Zagade, in his interview with the Times Of India, said that he had written a letter to chief minister Uddhav Thackeray and deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar detailing a comprehensive action plan to combat a resurgent coronavirus outbreak. He now believes that his pleas either fell on deaf ears or the bureaucracy held his letter back.
Zagade stated that he is keen to share his expertise even now without charging a dime for it, but there has been no response from the government.
“Six months ago, I had a long meeting with the Pune mayor, followed by a letter to the CM and other authorities. If we take stringent measures, it should not be difficult to win the battle against Covid-19,” Zagade said.
Had proposed a roadmap, but got no response: Zagade
In a two-page letter addressed to the CM and Deputy CM, Zagade had laid out an elaborate roadmap to combat the coronavirus outbreak. Pointing out the reshuffling exercise by the CM last year when incompetent bureaucrats were shunted out for their inept handling of the COVID-19 outbreak, Zagade said that the whole exercise now seems futile since the state is in the throes of the second wave of the pandemic. He pinned the blame of the recent spurt in the cases on local bodies not exercising their powers.
The veteran bureaucrat had earlier worked as Pune municipal commissioner during which he played an instrumental role in the fight against swine flu. He had also served as the Food and Drug Administration commissioner from 2011 to 2014, during which he had firmly insisted on the rigorous implementation of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act.
The former bureaucrat stated that last year, the state government had shifted a large number of officers for inefficient handling of the first wave of the pandemic. “Now, a year later, the cases have increased manifold. It clearly indicates the entire exercise of shuffling government officers was a futile exercise”, Zagade added. He asserted that the local bodies are not utilising their power.
Maharashtra is among the worst-hit state by the scourge of the second wave of the coronavirus outbreak. More than 50,000 cases have been reported in the state daily in the last two week. Over 67,000 new cases were registered from the state on Thursday. The state is also reportedly facing acute shortages of medicinal oxygen supplies as well as the scarcity of essential and life-saving drugs like Remdesivir.