BOWING to public demand to appoint a competent IAS officer to head the PMPML, the Maharashtra government Friday gave additional charge of the city transport body to Shrikar Pardeshi. Now the State Inspector General of Registrations and Stamps, Pardeshi will hold additional charge as PMPML chairman and managing director.
Pardeshi said he would not let commuters be burdened with fare hikes and would do everything possible to improve functioning of the transport organisation.
“Yes, I have been given additional charge of PMPML…I will take charge on Monday as I would be in Delhi for an awards function,” Pardeshi said minutes after receiving state government orders to take charge of PMPML, which has been hobbling along without a head for months after its CMD retired. “I will do whatever possible to make PMPML commuter-oriented…I am aware of some problems of PMPML,” said Pardeshi, who earned the reputation of an officer who does not brook any nonsense, during his stint in PCMC when he had taken on political might to improve functioning of the civic body.
Pardeshi’s appointment has been directly made by the Chief Minister’s Office. Two days back, Principal Secretary to CM Parveen Pardeshi confirmed to this paper appointment of the new CMD. Parveen Pardeshi had said the CMO was closely monitoring PMPML and was aware of the need for an overhaul of the bus transport body. For the past month, the CMO had been promising to act. During his Pune visit, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had promised to appoint a “competent” IAS officer to head the PMPML.
Commuter organisations like PMP Pravasi Manch and Pedestrians First argued that only a “competent” IAS officer like Shrikar Pardeshi who had proven track record of improving civic services should head the PMPML, which was down in the dumps with its cumulative losses rising to over Rs 100 crore. Officials said that PMPML incurs a loss of Rs 16 lakh every day and has no money to buy even spare parts, resulting in higher rate of breakdown of buses.
Commuter organisations have hailed the appointment of Pardeshi. “Our demand for a competent officer has been met. Today, everything is wrong with PMPML. The entire system stinks. PMPML is running into losses because it never had an efficient officer,” said Jugal Rathi of PMP Pravasi Manch. Rathi said Pardeshi should shoot down the fare hike plan of PMPML administration.
“There is absolutely no reason for hiking fares…PMPML administration is brazenly jacking up losses…,” he said.
Prashant Inamdar, convener of Pedestrians First, said the appointment will be a new dawn for PMPML. Pardeshi had shown what he is capable of in his short tenure. “Pardeshi should take inputs from citizens’ organisations and not rely on only officials to avoid getting wrong and false information. There is no reason why PMPML cannot be made efficient. If run efficiently, there will be fewer personal vehicles on the roads,” he said adding that it would somewhat decongest the roads choked by heavy traffic.