Senior IAS Officer Ashwani Kumar to Oversee MCD Unification Process | Latest Delhi News
Indian Administrative Service (IAS) Officer Ashwani Kumar will take over as Special Officer (SO) and Gyanesh Bharti as Commissioner of the Unified Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD), which will start operating from Sunday , according to an order issued by the Union Home Office on Friday.
The two officers will oversee the functioning of the civic body until a process of redeveloping the capital’s civic wards is completed and elections are held for the house of councilors for the reunified MCD, which was split into three in 2012. The election may take time. because the process can take several months.
Both Kumar and Bharti will take charge of the MCD from May 22, the day the term of the three companies – South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC), North DMC and East DMC – ends. A separate notification issued on Wednesday formalized the merger of the three companies effective May 22.
Delhi government spokespersons did not respond to requests for comment on the matter.
An IAS officer from 1992 of the Union Territory Framework, or AGMUT, cadre, Kumar was the Principal Secretary of the Delhi Government’s Public Works Department (PWD) and Vigilance Director until he was transferred to Pondicherry in November 2017 where he held the position of chief secretary until Friday. His tenure in the nation’s capital has been marked by friction with the elected government of the Aam Aadmi party. The controversies began with his appointment in August 2016 when Kumar was first appointed PWD Secretary, a move for which Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal criticized the Center and LG because, according to the AAP government, it was done without asking the opinion of the CM.
In June 2017, Kejriwal wrote to then-Chief Secretary M.M. Kutty asking him to bring “dereliction of duty” proceedings against Kumar for improper and delayed desilting of the drains. The officer then hit back, saying “negativity and bickering” don’t help with civic challenges.
In another instance, Kejriwal tasked the Delhi government’s think tank, the Dialogue and Development Commission, with identifying the reason why Barapullah’s Phase III project was delayed. The commission prepared a 14-page report accusing Kumar.
In October 2017, the Delhi Assembly Petitions Committee summoned Kumar for allegedly misleading a House panel on the sewer desilting issue. He was later granted a stay of order by the High Court.
Bharti, also an IAS officer under UT since 1998, served as the commissioner of the South Delhi City Council (SDMC) led by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Previously, he served as New Delhi City Council (NDMC) Secretary in 2009-2010 and Deputy Commissioner and Deputy Secretary of the Unified MCD between 2005-2008.
It was under Bharti that the SDMC then filed an FIR against AAP MP Amanatullah Khan after being asked to do so by the SDMC mayor.
The BJP-led government at the Center decided to reunite the three companies, arguing that a unified MCD would be more efficient. This decision was taken at a time when the electoral commission was to announce the timetable for the municipal elections.
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