Senior bureaucrat Saurabh Rao will be the new Commissioner of the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) while Naval Kishore Ram will be the new Collector of Pune district.
Rao, a 2003-batch IAS officer, replaces Kunal Kumar, who is on deputation to the Centre as Joint Secretary in the Urban Affairs and Housing department. Rao, who was Pune Collector for four years, will take charge on Tuesday from acting in-charge and additional municipal commissioner Sheetal Ugale-Teli. Rao’s appointment was already a talking point in political circles.
This is not the first time an official holding the post of Pune Collector has been appointed the PMC Commissioner. In the past, Vikas Deshmukh had been made PMC Commissioner after holding the post of Pune Collector. However, he was transferred from PMC within six months.
Naval Kishore Ram, who was serving as Aurangabad district Collector, will replace Rao as Pune district Collector. He is a 2008-batch IAS officer who has previously served as the Beed Collector.
Speaking to mediapersons, Rao said his four-year stint as Pune Collector was a great learning experience. The rescue operation co-ordinated by him during the Malin landslide in 2014, subsequent rehabilitation of survivors as well as his efforts to get the proposal for a new greenfield airport at Purandar cleared by the defence ministry are some of his career highlights.
“I adopted an integrated approach to work in tandem with PMC, PCMC and PMRDA. The aim was to bring in holistic growth and development,” said Rao. He said as PMC chief, he would focus on areas that need to be addressed to make life easier for citizens. “The areas I will focus on are public transport, traffic and road planning and riverfront development,” he said.
Rao said there was a need to focus on villages recently included in PMC’s jurisdiction. “Once a village becomes a city, the expectations of residents obviously grow. We need to satisfy them by providing them the amenities other residents of Pune get,” said Rao.
While serving as Beed Collector, Ram was credited with starting initiatives that helped check farmer suicides in the district. Ram said he would remain accessible to citizens and that he would strive to resolve every complaint raised by citizens. “In my entire career, I have always remained available to citizens. In Pune too, it will be no different. I will not avoid any citizen’s call and try to return the call,” said Ram.