Centre appoints Special Officer, Commissioner of unified MCD

Ashwani Kumar will be the seniormost bureaucrat to administer the civic affairs of the city

Ashwani Kumar will be the seniormost bureaucrat to administer the civic affairs of the city | Photo Credit: FILE PHOTO


The Centre appointed senior IAS officers Ashwani Kumar and Gyanesh Bharti as the special officer and commissioner, respectively, of the unified Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) here on Friday.

Mr. Kumar, a 1992-batch IAS officer of the AGMUT cadre, who served as the Chief Secretary of Puducherry before being transferred to the Capital and awaiting posting since April 19, will be the seniormost bureaucrat to administer the civic affairs of the city till elections for the unified MCD are held.

Sources described Mr. Kumar as an “apt choice” for the post given his experience with various departments of the Delhi government.

In his new role, Mr. Kumar will act as the link between the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) and the MCD on the one hand and between the MHA and the Delhi government, via the Secretary of the Urban Development department, on the other.

Mr. Bharti, a 1998-batch IAS officer of the AGMUT cadre, served as the Commissioner of South civic body and was the seniormost among the three municipal commissioners of Delhi. He has occupied the post since 2019.

In a statement issued by the SDMC on Friday, Mr. Bharti said, “My priority will be to provide the best municipal services to the people of Delhi in a transparent manner.”

According to the order issued by the Centre, the appointments will come into effect from May 22 when the three civic bodies merge.

The term of the South civic body came to an end on Wednesday, that of the North civic body on Thursday. The term of the East civic body will end on Saturday.

“Mr. Kumar, who served at various posts at the Centre, has held charge of the east district and served in the Delhi Jal Board, in addition to discharging his duties as director of the Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board as well as secretary, Department of Environment and Public Works Department (PWD), is an apt choice given his experience in urban governance,” a senior official said.

The official pointed out that Mr. Kumar had, during his stints at the helm of the Delhi government’s Environment and PWD departments, had “some run-ins” with the AAP dispensation.

“The first run-in was related to the findings of an IIT Delhi report on the state of air pollution in the city. The second led to the setting up a Delhi Assembly Committee against him for allegedly failing to keep waterlogging in the city in check,” the source added.

“Though he is renowned for his by-the-book approach to governance and administration, it will be interesting to observe how, if at all, his previous disagreements with the AAP government will affect his tenure in this new role,” the official also said.

Mr. Bharti has served as Joint Secretary, Cabinet Secretariat and as Joint Secretary in the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change. 

From 2005 to 2008, Mr. Bharti served as a Deputy Commissioner at the central zone under the then unified MCD.

His appointment comes two days after the Centre issued a notification stating that the unified Municipal Corporation of Delhi will be constituted on May 22, after a bill to merge the three municipal corporations – North, South and East – was passed in the Lok Sabha in late March. 

On Mr. Bharti’s appointment, a senior civic official said, “He has been a part of the South civic body, which was a financially sound civic body when compared to the North and East civic bodies. With the merger, the liabilities and issues of the latter will also become a part of the unified MCD. So, it will be an uphill task for him.”

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Printable version | Jun 9, 2022 7:44:33 am |