BENGALURU: On a day the state registered the biggest spike in daily infections so far this year, the government moved out Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike Commissioner N Manjunatha Prasad and posted him as Principal Secretary, Revenue Department. In his place, Gaurav Gupta, who has been the Palike administrator for the last six months, was posted as the 68th Commissioner.
On Wednesday, Karnataka reported 4,225 new cases of Covid-19 and 26 more fatalities, taking the total number of infections to 9,97,004 and the death toll to 12,567, according to the Health department data. Of the fresh infections reported on Wednesday, 2,928 were from Bengaluru Urban district alone.
Of the 26 deaths, 18 are from Bengaluru Urban, two each from Kalaburagi and Tumakuru, and one each from Udupi, Uttara Kannada, Kolar and Chikkamagaluru.
Soon after the transfer orders were issued, speculations were rife on the reasons for the change of guard. While some felt it was because of the rising cases and that the Commissioner was unable to bring them down, others said it was because the Commissioner had publically requested the government to impose
restrictions, leaving the ministers in a tight spot.
Had requested for transfer, says Manjunatha Prasad
However , clearing the air, Manjunatha Prasad told The New Indian Express that he had requested the CM for a transfer. “After recovering from Covid- 19, my health was not permitting me to handle too much work, and being BBMP Commissioner is a 24-hour job. I realised that I was not doing justice and position requires round the clock functioning now.
I had requested the CM and he has agreed,” he said. Prior to his transfer, Prasad had been BBMP Commissioner for the fourth time — from April 25, 2016 to May 3, 2018; June 29, 2018 to July 4, 2019; July 15, 2019 to August 28, 2019; and July 18, 2020 to March 31, 2021. In his new post, he will hold concurrent charge as Principal Secretary, Revenue Department of Disaster Management, Bhoomi and Urban Property Ownership Records (UPOR).
The new Palike Commissioner, Gaurav Gupta, said that thrust will be on handling the Covid-19 issue. He recollected that he had worked with BBMP earlier in 1994-95 as East zone deputy commissioner and as Special commissioner, Finances and Projects in 2005- 07.
“Though it is too early to say anything on what needs to be done, importance will be given to Covid-19 issues and work will go on in the same manner to control the pandemic,” he said. Also, as per the orders issued on Wednesday, Rakesh Singh, Additional Chief Secretary, Water Resources Department and Urban Development Department, will now hold concurrent charge as BBMP Administrator. Gaurav Gupta will also hold concurrent charge as Additional Chief Secretary, Commerce and Industries Department.