Ashwini Bhide, the bureaucrat who was in the eye of the storm for spearheading construction of the car shed at Aarey for Metro 3, and who had to step down from the position after the MVA government took over, is back as Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation Chief.
On Tuesday, 12th July 2022, she was given additional charge as managing director (MD), MMRCL, which is implementing the Colaba-Seepz Metro-3 project. Bhide will also continue to work as additional commissioner, Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC). She was transferred out of MMRCL in January 2020.
One of the first decisions of Uddhav Thackeray’s government back then, had been to shift the Metro car shed project from Aarey to Kanjur Marg. The decision was reversed at their very first meeting after Eknath Shinde and Devendra Fadnavis took charge earlier this month. The work on Metro 3 project was delayed after the central government objected to the MVA government’s decision to move the car shed from Aarey to Kanjur Marg.
Bhide, who is credited with implementing the project rapidly, had been bitterly criticised after the MMRCL felled more than 2,000 trees in the dead of the night at Aarey Milk Colony amid strenuous objections from environmentalists.
Uddhav and Aaditya Thackeray too had been critical of the decision to fell trees and had proposed a forest status for Aarey. Until her transfer in 2020, Bhide, a 1995-batch IAS officer, had served in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) right through since 2008, except for one year in 2014-15. She was in charge of several key projects including the eastern freeway between P D’Mello Road and Ghatkopar. In January 2015, she was appointed as MD, MMRC, a joint venture between Maharashtra government and Centre to construct Metro-3 and the project had proceeded at a brisk pace under her.
In other notable bureaucratic transfers, Shrikar Pardeshi, who served variously as deputy secretary in the prime minister office (PMO) and MD of SICOM, was posted as secretary to the deputy chief minister Devendra Fadnavis. Bhausaheb Dangade, chief executive officer of Thane Zilla Parishad has been appointed as the new commissioner of Kalyan-Dombivli Municipal Corporation.