As coronavirus cases rise in Tamil Nadu, the state government on Friday transferred Health Secretary Beela Rajesh. J Radhakrishnan, principal secretary and commissioner of revenue administration, was appointed as the new health secretary of the state.
Radhakrishnan had served as the health secretary from 2012 till 2018. He was appointed as the special nodal officer for the Greater Chennai Corporation (GCC) to head the fight against coronavirus in the state.
He shot to fame and was hailed by the international media during the 2004 Tsunami for his interventions as the then district collector of Nagapattinam, one of the badly hit districts in the state.
A top official in the state government known to the development said there was “nothing amiss, nothing controversial” about the transfer.
“She had done a good job. She is transferred to the commercial taxes and registration department, which is considered as a premium post,” the official said.
He added the situation was similar to the World Cup.
“There will be a Star Player who will be in reserve in the initial rounds to fight a tough battle towards the end. We have crossed that point, cases were steadily rising. It is the time to hand over the leadership to a senior officer,” the official added.
When asked whether the steady spike in cases, allegations of COVID death data fudging, and shortage of beds and protests of health workers had played a role in the decision, the official said what they were witnessing was an unprecedented situation.
“These charges were not mistakes or crimes but may be lapses while handling an extraordinary situation. The health department under Rajesh had done everything effectively since the beginning. There were no lapses in active surveillance or early intervention of cases. We have done the best job in contact tracing,” the official added.