Even as Pimpri-Chinchwad continues to report new Covid-19 cases and 15 persons who returned from the UK remain untraceable, the city’s civic administration is grappling with a shortage of top officials.
Municipal Commissioner Shravan Hardikar, who has completed three years with PCMC, has gone on leave. There is speculation that he will be transferred as he has completed his three-year tenure. Hardikar has been handling the entire COVID-19 operation since March. Hardikar was slated for a transfer in June. However, in view of the surge in COVID-19 cases and public pressure, the state government had decided to continue with him. Hardikar will be completing 16 years of service and is slated for promotion as secretary.
Additional Municipal Commissioner Santosh Patil, who was part of Hardikar’s team, has been promoted and transferred to Pune divisional commissioner. Another Additional Municipal Commissioner Pravin Tupe, one of the most senior-most officers who rose through the ranks, has taken voluntary retirement.
Additional Health chief Dr Pavan Salve, who was closely monitoring COVID-19 cases, is unwell. And PCMC health chief Dr Anil Roy is not actively involved with day to day handling of COVID-19 cases. Civic sources said Dr Roy and Dr Salve do not see eye-to-eye.
All this has left Additional Municipal Commissioner Ajit Pawar overburdened with work. He has to handle at least three posts, said civic officials.
When contacted, Assistant Municipal Commissioner Anna Bodade said, “PCMC commissioner is on leave and may join next week. I am not aware of his transfer.” Bodade said currently Additional Municipal Commissioner Ajit Pawar is in charge and looking after the COVID-19 operations.
Meanwhile, the total number of positive cases in Pimpri-Chinchwad has reached the figure of 96,313. A total of 1,457 are active cases.