Karthikeyan back as Chennai corpn commissioner
A sense of deja vu pervaded Ripon Buildings’ on Monday , which marked the return of D Karthikeyan as commissioner of Greater Chennai Corporation for a third time in the past five years.
Karthikeyan replaced the outgoing B Chandra Mohan with immediate effect, the latter poised to take charge as the revenue secretary . A1997-batch IAS officer from Chennai, Karthikeyan was till now the commissioner, archaeology department. He was given the position after the new government assumed office on May 23, 2016.
The general feeling among official circles is that Karthikeyan has been brought back to the post with the local body polls in mind. He was the corporation commissioner in 2011, when, for a first time, the local body used Electronic Voting Machines for the civic polls.
Officials on the first floor, where the commissioner’s office is located, have not forgotten the times under Karthikeyan. “He is a very strict officer. He wouldn’t hesitate to chargesheet anyone,“ said a senior official. Karthikeyan’s high point was when he presided over the transformation of Chennai from a 176sqkm place into a 426sqkm mega city .
The smooth transition of accomodating Greater Chennai was under his leadership.“His aggression helped a quicker absorption of the municipalities and panchayats into the corporation,“ the official added. Karthikeyan was particular about the contractors employed for the growing city and the infrastructure that was to be put in place. He recommended that the city utilise comprehensive tenders for road projects, that is a single contractor who is responsible for relaying roads, erecting street lights and bus shelters on a particular street. This order was consequently forgotten and it remains to be seen whether this process will be taken up again.
However, the shunting of Chandra Mohan could derail a few projects, noted senior officials. “Every time a new commissioner takes charge, he tries to introduce his ideas to the corporation,“ said a senior official. “It becomes difficult for us as plans change and we have to start from scratch.“
Not much will change with regard to administrative approach as officials said both the outgoing and new officers were similar.