Whip cracking: Arvind Kejriwal’s first day as Chief Minister of Delhi

Kejriwal transfers nine IAS officers, holds his first cabinet meeting, assigns portfolios, mulls free water and power tariff cut, and appoints secretaries to himself and his cabinet members on his first day as Delhi CM.

Wasting no time after his oath taking ceremony, Delhi’s newly appointed chief minister Arvind Kejriwal went straight to his office. After visiting every department, Kejriwal cracked the whip on the old and dusty system.

Reportedly, Kejriwal met Delhi Jal Board within two hours of his taking charge of office and removed the CEO of the Delhi Jal Board as a part of his promise to clear out inefficiencies and corruption in the government. However, the official reason for doing so is not out.

According to a Times of India report, Kejriwal’s entry into the Delhi Jal Board as its chairman had made many in the board nervous. “The prospect of Kejriwal’s entry into the water utility has made many officials nervous and those eager to make a clean start with the new chief are learned to have made a list of suspicious deals and corrupt people in the department for him,” the Times of India report had said.

“I have been informed that there are certain problems with them. For instance, as far as I know there was no tendering for the Nangloi project. Secondly, DJB is providing raw water to the private company for free. They will be paid Rs 15 per kilolitre for the treated water whereas DJB can do the same work for Rs 3-4 per kl. What is the need for this excessive expenditure? There are similar problems with the Malviya Nagar model and these have to be re-visited,” said Kejriwal in the same report.

Kejriwal carried out a reshuffle of Delhi Administration’s top bureaucracy, making new appointments to the top posts of the power department, the Delhi Jal Board and Delhi Transport Corporation. In all, nine IAS officers were transferred.

Kejriwal also met Delhi Police Commissioner B S Bassi and discussed ways of improving the law and order situation, especially women’s security.

“We had a talk. I briefed him about Delhi Police while he told me about his concerns and his vision. We will work together to create a safe environment for Delhiites in the city. Focus will be on the vulnerable sections of the society, especially women,” Bassi told reporters. Asked about Kejriwal’s security, Bassi said whenever there would be any development, he will share it with the media.

Senior IAS officer Rajendra Kumar was appointed as the Secretary of Kejriwal. A 1989 batch IAS officer, Kumar, an IIT, Delhi, alumnus like Kejriwal, was Higher Education Secretary and had earlier handled various departments including power and transport.

All the other six ministers were assigned various government portfolios and they too got new secretaries.

C Arvind, Additional Commissioner in Trade and Taxes department, has been posted as Secretary to Manish Sisodia who has been given the charges of Revenue, PWD, Urban Development, Education, Higher Education, Local Bodies and Land and Building departments.

General Manager of Delhi Tourism and Transportation Development Corporation (DTTDC) Vinay Bhushan has been appointed Secretary to Somnath Bharti who has been made Minister for Administrative Reforms, Law, Tourism and Culture.

Additional Director in Education department D Verma has made appointed Secretary to Rakhi Birla, Minister for Social Welfare and Women and Child Development departments.

Special Commissioner (Trade and Taxes) P K Panda will assist Minister Satyender Jain who has been allocated Health, Industries and Gurudwara Elections portfolios.

C Uday Kumar, Additional Secretary in Urban Development department, has been made secretary to Girish Soni, Minister for Labour, Development, Skill Development and SC/ST departments.

Deputy Inspector General (Prisons), Tihar Central Jail, G Sudhakar Secretary has been made secretary to Saurabh Bharadwaj who has been given charge of Transport, Food and Civil Supplies and Environment.

Kejriwal also presided over his cabinet’s first meeting at 2pm yesterday and the first decision taken was to discourage the VIP culture. No minister or official in Delhi government will use red beacon and no personal security officer and escort vehicle will be be provided to any official. Security is to be allowed based on threat perception.

Kejriwal said that the decision on new government’s promise of supply of 700 litres of free water to each household and cutting down electricity charges early next week. “I have asked officials to work out and will take decision by Monday,” Kejriwal told media.

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