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Chief Minister EPS mulls change of guard over poor virus work

Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami is apparently dissatisfied with the performance of a few officials handling the COVID crisis in Chennai and the discussion of change of guard has resumed in the Secretariat.

Chief Minister EPS mulls change of guard over poor virus work
Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami


The CM, who was quite satisfied with action taken by western District Collectors and the Industries Department for making progress during the crisis, had expected similar results from Chennai officials. But much to the dismay of the top brass, the field officials have blamed the public for not adhering to social distancing.

“With several staff at the Secretariat, government departments and HC testing positive, the ire is now directed towards Ripon Buildings and the Public Health Department handling the pandemic. Last month, the names of senior officials in the Health Department and Chennai Corporation were discussed for a transfer, but action is yet to be taken,” said a top official on condition of anonymity. Senior officials now micromanaging COVID operations had also found public toilets and Kasimedu fishing harbour in the containment zones a major source of the epidemic spread. Subsequently, Fisheries Minister D Jayakumar was instructed to take stock. Mismanagement of the burials of two virus-infected doctors and the controversy over COVID-19 records by the Health Department has also turned out to be a headache for the government, sources said.According to Secretariat sources, Chief Secretary K Shanmugam is also upset with Corporation babus and has asked for periodic follow-up reports from containment zones. There were unconfirmed reports that the CS issued a strong-worded letter to the Corporation Commissioner G Prakash asking him to take stringent steps to curtail the spread.

“The CM has now pressed senior ministers into action so that public complaints are addressed. Now Health Minister C Vijaya Baskar should share the responsibility of handling the corona crisis with the other Ministers in Chennai,” another official said.

Officials on WFH mode as Secretariat staff test +ve

The work from home concept adopted by private companies is now the new mantra for a section of top babus holding key positions in Fort St George. Several senior officers are now in home quarantine after their personal assistants and drivers tested positive for corona. “Two IAS officers have also tested positive and more than half a dozen PAs too contracted the virus. The entire Health Department is rattled with several government staff now testing positive,” said a senior official. “About 300 staff were tested on Monday and the results are awaited. We are upset with the growing numbers and so far, more than 60 employees have the virus,” Peter Anthonysamy, president, Tamil Nadu Secretariat Association said, demanding weekend sanitisation for all government buildings.

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