MUMBAI: Omprakash Bakoria, a Maharashtra IAS official, who tried to ensure discipline in the administration, is the latest victim of political high-handedness. Bakoria, who had been serving as Additional Municipal Commissioner in Pune, was unceremoniously transferred within nine months of taking charge. However, the public outrage over the IAS official’s abrupt exit forced Maharashtra government to put his transfer on hold .
A Communications Engineer by training, Bakoria, who belongs to the IAS 2006 batch, has been transferred no less than seven times during the eight years he has spent in the elite service. He is also known as a stickler for discipline.
Bakoria, 41, was shifted as director of the state’s Sports Directorate in Pune allegedly at the behest of a woman BJP legislator. However, the government has given him additional charge of his earlier post as Additional Municipal Commissioner for some time. This is also the first instance in Pune where an official has been given additional charge of the post from where he was transferred. Several citizens’ forums had approached Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis with a demand to cancel Bakoria’s transfer. Finally, Fadnavis succumbed to their pressure and asked Bakoria to continue for some time.
During his stint in Pune, Bakoria started a number of public interest projects like the public complaints system that uses WhatsApp social networking platform. He also started ‘zero maternal death project’ in civic hospitals and maternity homes.
Vinay Dalvi, an RTI activist from Pune, alleged that a few government contractors, hurt by Bakoria’s stringent administration, had pressured the government to shunt him out. “Bakoria was instrumental in blacklisting a prominent contractor associated with a BJP legislator. The contractor had submitted bills to the Municipal Corporation for several works which he did not carry out,” Dalvi said.
Bakoria also had mechanised parking facility on JM Road after a spot inspection revealed that it was being used by Sai Service Station Limited, an automobile dealership and components chain, run by relatives of Congress leader Suresh Kalmadi.