Coronavirus in Mumbai: State govt deputes three IAS officers to micro-manage key hospitals
Photo Credit: BL Soni

Mumbai: As coronavirus cases continue to surge across Mumbai, the state government on Thursday deputed three IAS officers to three major civic-run hospitals in the city the KEM, Sion and Nair hospitals -- to oversee the management of the facilities during the pandemic. Chief Secretary Ajoy Mehta deputed these IAS officers to ensure effective control and management of the three civic hospitals that are handling most of the COVID-19 cases in the city, said the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC).

Civic officials said the responsibility of BYL Nair Hospital in Mumbai Central has been given to 2007-batch IAS officer Madan Nagargoje, while his batchmate Ajit Patil will oversee the functioning of KEM Hospital in Parel.

Meanwhile, Balaji Manjule, a 2009-batch IAS officer, has been deputed to Lokmanya Tilak Municipal General Hospital, popularly known as Sion Hospital. Municipal Commissioner Iqbal Singh Chahal said, "I have briefed the three officers about the availability of manpower, various services and facilities at these multi-speciality BMC-run hospitals and tasks they have to accomplish during their deputation. The deputation of the three IAS officers will be very helpful during a pandemic situation that the city is grappling with."

According to sources, the move was prompted by several embarrassing irregularities that were reported in the three civic hospitals recently. A video showing COVID-19 patients lying next to dead bodies in a ward at the Lokmanya Tilak Municipal General Hospital in Sion had gone viral on social media recently.

However, civic authorities chose not to link the decision to these recent irregularities, and said the IAS officers have been deputed only to ensure effective management of the three main civic-run hospitals.

"The management of hospitals has been a major challenge before the BMC for a long time. Amid the Coronavirus outbreak, proper and effective management of these important hospitals working on the frontlines has become even more essential. We had initially asked various Assistant Municipal Commissioners on different profiles to take charge of the main and peripheral hospitals run by the BMC to ensure effective management. However, the AMC's have their own share of the workload," said a senior BMC official. He added, "The deans of these hospitals are medical professionals and can take care of medical-related issues. However, when it comes to non-medical issues, it needs someone with better managerial and organisational skills."

While the BMC is spearheading Mumbai's response to the Coronavirus pandemic, another IAS officer has been deputed to take charge of two state government-run hospitals in the city. The charge of managing state-run GT Hospital and JJ Hospital has been handed over to 2011-batch IAS officer Sushil Khodvekar, who is the deputy secretary of state school education and sports department. He, too, attended the briefing session with the civic commissioner.

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