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‘New posting will give a push to my career’: Chandigarh Advisor Manoj Parida transferred to Delhi

Parida is a 1986 batch AGMUT Cadre IAS officer. His term was not due for ending as he had arrived in Chandigarh only on December 26, 2018, replacing Parimal Rai, who was sent as Chief Secretary Goa.

Written by Hina Rohtaki | Chandigarh |
June 17, 2021 11:23:08 pm
Chandigarh Advisor Manoj Parida. (Express file photo)

Chandigarh Advisor Manoj Parida was transferred and posted out to Delhi on Thursday. In the orders issued by the Government of India, the IAS officer will be moving as Chairman National Authority Chemical weapons Convention Delhi. Parida will be going in the pay of Secretary to Government of India.

Parida is a 1986 batch AGMUT Cadre IAS officer. His term was not due for ending as he had arrived in Chandigarh only on December 26, 2018, replacing Parimal Rai, who was sent as Chief Secretary Goa.

Parida was known for his strong decisions, irrespective of any criticism that he would draw for them.

“I am happy to get a chance to serve the Government of India at the Secretary level. But I am happier that at least the Covid situation is under control in Chandigarh as I leave,” he said about his transfer orders.

He told The Indian Express, “Everyone dreams of achieving in their career and this new posting will act as a much-needed push to mine.”

In an interview with The Indian Express in 2019, three months after he assumed charge, Parida had listed a few priorities including improving government educational institutes in the city and transforming Sector 17 into India’s own Times Square.

Before leaving for his new posting, Manoj Parida spoke to The Indian Express about the highs and lows of his tenure in Chandigarh:

What do you feel were the highs of your stint?

I personally feel that controlling the Covid situation at a time when nothing was certain is something that I will remember. No one, including the doctors and nurses, had any major idea about the virus. Controlling the pandemic was a big challenge, which I am happy that I overcame. At a time when newspapers were not being distributed owing to the Covid-19 curfew, it became very difficult to reach out to the people. That was a scary time. People didn’t know if they were Covid positive or not, what the implications of the virus, or how could it be treated. I feel lucky to have overcome that challenge. The other thing that I will count as achievements are getting 150 buses for Chandigarh, the digitisation of estate office records, increasing the revenue of the estate office, the recruitment of clerks, police officers everything. Even work on the smart city, which hadn’t taken off when I assumed charge, is making good progress as of today. I want to credit this to our teamwork, it was a joint effort.

I feel that tackling Covid’s second wave in Chandigarh was my greatest achievement. Covid in Chandigarh wasn’t as devastating as Delhi. We sometimes gave quick overnight approvals to charitable institutions and with their help, arranged 500 additional beds with oxygen.

What is something that you regret?

One thing that I regret is that development works have taken a backseat in the last year-and-half.

I regret that in the last year and a half, we couldn’t do any developmental works. Nothing could be done on the issue of Tribune flyover or the underpass between the PGI and the Panjab University. And even the issue of Metro couldn’t be resolved. I feel that we could have even got the bypass road – the shortest route to Chandigarh airport — constructed, but couldn’t. Then the issue of privatization of electricity is also pending.

What are the projects you want your successor to take up on a priority basis?

I want my successor to get the waste processing plant thing in order. We need a modernised system. I will call it a scar on a beautiful city. I will also want my successor to take up the development work of the underpass between PGI and PU, and work on the vintage museum, shooting range, besides trying to increase the UT’s forest cover. I personally want Sector 17 to have facilities like Times Square in New York City.

You connected really well with people during the pandemic over Twitter. But later you signed out

During the pandemic, especially when we had a curfew, everyone faced a harrowing time. People didn’t know what was going to happen, whether they will get essential supplies or not. Everyone was anxious. I felt it was my responsibility to give people the requisite information. So, I took to Twitter. This also helped me get feedback from the ground, which further helped me in modifying our decision-making at times. I couldn’t meet people in person then, so Twitter helped me know their problems. Twitter is a really nice platform. It was really nice to interact with the people of Chandigarh.

Names in the fray for new UT Adviser

Names of IAS officers Renu Sharma and Satya Gopal, both 1988 batch officers, are doing the rounds to replace Parida as the new UT Adviser. Both Sharma and Gopal are in Delhi and are from AGMUT cadre. Satya Gopal has formerly served as the chairman of the Chandigarh Housing Board.

Sources said that the name of former Chandigarh Housing Board chairman Maninder Bains was also in the fray, though he is from the Meghalaya cadre. Apart from Bains, 1991 batch IAS officers, Puneet Goyal and Amit Yadav, from AGMUT cadre, were also in contention.

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