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Sunday, September 19, 2021

Pankaj Kumar takes charge as Gujarat’s new chief secretary

A native of Patna in Bihar, Kumar replaces senior IAS officer Anil Mukim for whom a farewell was held in Gandhinagar.

By: Express News Service | Ahmedabad |
September 1, 2021 1:14:24 am
Pankaj Kumar takes over from Anil Mukim as chief secretary in Gandhinagar on Tuesday. (Express)

Pankaj Kumar, a 1986-batch IAS officer, took charge as the new chief secretary of Gujarat on Tuesday.A native of Patna in Bihar, Kumar replaces senior IAS officer Anil Mukim for whom a farewell was held in Gandhinagar. A civil engineer from IIT-Kanpur, Kumar had successfully spearheaded relief and rehabilitation work during the floods in 2017 and during cyclone Vayu in 2019. He was one of the four IAS officers leading the Covid-19 battle for the state government and was in charge of Covid duties for both Ahmedabad and Gandhinagar.

With Gujarat staring at a possible drought, the ongoing Covid-19 vaccination drive and with state Assembly elections scheduled next year, Kumar will be expected to hit the ground running.

“The position of chief secretary is one full of responsibility. It will be my aim to fulfil the goals with hard work and dedication. Development is happening at a rapid pace and Gujarat has good governance. I will contribute in taking this forward and will encourage team work and cooperation,” Kumar told media persons after taking over as chief secretary.

Meanwhile, officials present at the event in Gandhinagar bid adieu to 1985-batch IAS officer Mukim who had assumed charge as chief secretary on November 30, 2019 when he was working as secretary, Ministry of Mines in New Delhi. Mukim is among those handful of officials in Gujarat who have got two extensions. Mukim’s first posting was as sub-divisional magistrate in Bhuj. He rose rapidly up the ranks after the then Gujarat CM Keshubhai Patel transferred him as the Kutch district collector after the devastating earthquake of 2001. Mukim who took charge of the quake ravaged district on February 2001 spearheaded the massive relief and rehabilitation activities. His efforts during Kutch rehabilitation saw him subsequently being transferred to Gandhinagar as Principal Secretary to chief minister, a post he held from October 2001-05, when PM Narendra Modi was heading the state.

Mukim was among the five bureaucrats summoned by the Nanavati Commission, which was then probing the Godhra train burning case and the 2002 communal riots. During his deposition, Mukim who was part of the CMO in 2002, defended Modi saying that former IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt was not present during a crucial meeting called by the chief minister on February 27, 2002, on the day of the train burning incident in Godhra that sparked off communal riots in Gujarat. Bhatt had alleged that at the meeting Modi had instructed officials to let Hindus vent their anger.

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