Mumbai confidential: Frontrunnerhttps://indianexpress.com/article/cities/mumbai/mumbai-confidential-frontrunner-mumbai-civic-commissioner-5485712/

Mumbai confidential: Frontrunner

Although the names of Sanjay Kumar (1984), Manu Kumar Srivastava (1986), Nitin Kareer, Rajeev Jalota (both 1988), and I S Chahal (1989) are also being discussed in the corridors of power, Pardeshi is being seen as a favourite.

Praveen Pardeshi

Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis’s Additional Chief Secretary Praveen Pardeshi, a 1985-batch IAS officer, is seen as the top contender to replace Ajoy Mehta as Mumbai’s next civic commissioner. Although the names of Sanjay Kumar (1984), Manu Kumar Srivastava (1986), Nitin Kareer, Rajeev Jalota (both 1988), and I S Chahal (1989) are also being discussed in the corridors of power, Pardeshi is being seen as a favourite. Fadnavis is expected to undertake a major rejig in the state’s bureaucracy before the end of the month.

Damage Control
Within hours of the arrest of BJP worker Sachin Pawar, a former PA of Minister (Housing) Prakash Mehta, in a murder case Saturday, the BJP’s Ghatkopar unit had swung into action to remove banners and hoardings where Pawar was seen with CM Fadnavis and other senior leaders. In fact, sources say the local municipal machinery was also pressed into action. Pawar, whose wife had contested the last civic poll on a BJP ticket, was a regular at the state Secretariat. While Mehta has claimed that he had distanced himself from Pawar in 2009 itself, sources confirmed that Pawar enjoyed considerable clout in the belt.

Second Innings
Continuing with the trend of filling up information commissioners’ posts with retired IAS officers, speculation is rife that Additional Chief Secretary (Home) Sunil Porwal (1983) would be accommodated as an information commissioner post his retirement this month-end. The post of state information commissioner (Konkan bench) is vacant, while that of information commissioner (Mumbai) will soon fall vacant after incumbent A K Jain’s term ends. Jain, another retired bureaucrat, meanwhile, has landed a fresh assignment, with the MERC appointing him on the fact-finding committee constituted to probe allegations of inflated bills against Adani Electricity Mumbai Limited.

Angry Minister
Union minister Ramdas Athawale is a miffed man. He had to suffer the embarrassment of being manhandled by a disillusioned Dalit movement follower in Ambernath on Saturday evening. Smarting under the attack, Athawale on Sunday trained his guns on the Chief Minister-led Home department and the police machinery. The Union minister has alleged that adequate police security is not being provided to him. Meanwhile, Ambedkar followers observed a bandh in parts of Ambernath in protest of the attack.

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Not Now, Please
With an eye on improving Maharashtra’s representation in the central bureaucracy, the CM-led General Administration Department had sought the willingness of two senior bureaucrats — Arvind Singh and Ashish Kumar Singh, both of whom belong to the 1988-batch — to opt for a central deputation. Both of them had been empanelled last June for Additional Secretary-level posts in the GoI. But both have told the government they would not want to move to a central government assignment now, sources said. Incidentally, Ajoy Mehta (1984), who has similarly been empanelled for a secretary-level post, remains keen to land a central assignment in the infrastructure sector. Ironically, Mehta is being seen as a prime contender to become the state’s next Home secretary.

Done, Finally
Decks have finally been cleared for construction of a new Excise Bhavan in Mumbai. Mumbai’s Additional Municipal Commissioner Vijay Singhal (1997 batch), who had been overstaying at the Excise Department bungalow adjoining the civic headquarters near CST, has finally shifted his belongings to his new government accommodation. While Singhal was transferred from the Excise Commissioner’s post in August 2016, he had continued to occupy the spacious bungalow till now. The bungalow is to be razed for construction of the new Excise Bhavan. Fadnavis is expected to soon perform the ground-breaking rites for the work, said sources.

Compiled by Sandeep Ashar