Ashwini Bhide, the managing director (MD) of Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation (MMRC) and an Indian Administrative Service (IAS) Officer, was on Tuesday transferred by the Maharashtra government in a reshuffle of bureaucrats in the western Indian state.
Ranjit Singh Deol, so far vice chairman and managing director of Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation, will replace her. Deo is an IAS officer of 1998 batch, and like Bhide, belongs to Maharashtra cadre.
As MD of MMRC, she was at the forefront of implementing the Colaba-Bandra-SEEPZ Mumbai Metro 3 project. Promoted earlier this month as principal secretary, Bhide’s transfer was a matter of time as Aaditya Thackeray, state environment minister and son of Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, had publicly demanded her removal. That was around the time the government formation in the state was still in a limbo and the Maha Vikas Aghadi government had not yet been formed. Prospects of Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP’s) Devendra Fadnavis returning as chief minister of the state still loomed.
Her vociferous defence of felling of tress to pave way for the proposed Aarey metro car shed project had ruffled more than a few feathers.
Bhide would often tweet pictures of the ongoing metro project, an exercise that won her many admirers and a few detractors. Her stout defence of the Metro car shed project and humble but stern counters to green activists and other opponents of the infrastructure left few in doubt that her days at MMRC were numbered after the Aghadi came to power in end-November.