Just when the wobbly PMPML, the city’s transport organisation reeling under losses, seemed to have got someone to steer it clear of the doldrums it had hit, the man responsible for the likely turnaround, Shrikar Pardeshi, is set to move to the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) as Deputy Secretary.
Calling Pardeshi’s exit a big blow for commuters in the city and the PMPML, organisations working for safe, comfortable and cost-effective travel of Puneites said they had expected Pardeshi, the chairman and managing director of PMPML, to be granted at least a year or so to turn around the fortunes of the transport organisation.
Late on Tuesday evening, the PMO made the announcement about Pardeshi’s appointment to the PMO. When contacted on Wednesday, Pardeshi confirmed that he was moving to Delhi. “I was interviewed on March 19 for Deputy Secretary’s post in the PMO. I received confirmation about my appointment late on Tuesday evening. It will be a four-year tenure,” he said. Pardeshi is likely to join his new post in two weeks.
Sources close to Pardeshi said he would work directly under the prime minister. They said Pardeshi was picked because of his clean track record as an IAS officer and also because of his several public initiatives including the implementation of SARATHI that drew national attention.
Pardeshi’s exit from the city, said Jugal Rathi of PMP Pravasi Manch, “is a shock for commuters who were looking forward to improvement in the bus transport system after suffering badly at the hands of inept PMPML administrations over the years in the past.” Rathi said Pardeshi had unveiled several plans including route rationalisation and assured frequency of buses and had taken stringent measures to reduce breakdown of buses. “All the plans will now be adversely affected,” he said. The Manch feared that things would now be back to square one at the PMPML.
Pardeshi said he has been able to bring down the frequency of buses developing snags. “From 14 per cent, breakdowns were bought down to 6 to 8 per cent. We had been planning to bring it down to zero,” he said.
The AAP unit in the city were also unhappy with Pardeshi’s exit. “PMPML continues to suffer from short-tenure appointees and hardly any improvement programme is sustained. Pardeshi’s transfer will hit the PMPML hard,” the party stated.
“Without an able and long-term leadership, PMPML will continue to struggle and will fail to improve quality of service. All promises made by the city and state leadership are just lip service,” said Chenthil Iyer who leads the PMPML campaign in AAP.
“We demand immediate appointment of a senior IAS officer for a full three-year term,” he added.
Meanwhile, a section of PMPML employees Pardeshi had pulled up for inefficiency received the news of his exit with jubilation. “Before Pardeshi joined I was working only for two hours… After Pardeshi joined, I had to work more than eight to 10 hours. He was strict. Now we hope things will be back to where they were,” said an employee.
Pardeshi who heads the State Inspector General of Registrations and Stamps had implemented SARATHI helpline, both in Pimpri-Chinchwad and across Maharashtra. One SARATHI helped citizens in getting their work done directly by civic administration without going to corporators, another SARATHI in IGR department put curbs on fraudulent land deals. Pardeshi was transferred from Pimpri-Chinchwad just when had completed 20 months of his tenure. And now, he has been transferred just when he had completed a year at the IGR and only three months at PMPML.