Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has roped in a new commissioner to handle the COVID-19 crisis in Mumbai. The current BMC chief Praveen Pardeshi has been transferred to the post of Additional Chief Secretary in the urban development department, giving way to Iqbal Chahal.
Who is Iqbal Chahal?
Iqbal Chahal, a 1989 IAS batch officer of Maharashtra cadre, is a veteran officer who has served at the Centre even during the UPA regime. Chahal, prior to assuming his new position, served as principal secretary, urban development department. He was also the chief of Asia's largest slum Dharavi Redevelopment Project in Mumbai.
Chahal has held many top-level posts during his tenure, which include serving as the principal secretary of the Water Resources Department - Government of Maharashtra, secretary of the Department of Medical Education and Medicine and joint secretary and OSD of the Union Home Ministry.
Hailed as a physically fit officer, Chahal served as the Excise Commissioner and also District Collector of Aurangabad and Thane. He has been participating in Mumbai Marathon since 2004.
Other changes in BMC placements
Besides this top-level rejig at BMC, the Uddhav Thackrey-led government made other important changes. Ashwini Bhide, former managing director of the Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation, and Former Thane Municipal Commissioner Sanjeev Jaiswal, have been appointed as additional commissioners in the BMC. The current additional municipal commissioner of BMC Abasaheb Jarhad has been appointed Secretary (R&R), Revenue and Forest Department.
Coronavirus in Mumbai
Maharashtra is the worst-hit state by coronavirus as it has already reported close to 14,000 positive cases. With the rising number of cases in Mumbai, there's high pressure on Uddhav Thackeray to take new measures to break the chain. Recently, more than 100 positive cases were reported from Arthur Road jail in Mumbai, 77 of which are inmates and 26 are cops.
Overall in India, there are 56,342 positive cases of coronavirus, which include the 3,390 newly-reported cases and 103 new deaths.