Bihar’s Principal Health Secretary transferred amid growing Covid cases

Amid the spike in Covid-19 cases in Bihar, the state’s Principal Secretary of Health, Sanjay Kumar, has been transferred from the department. He has been replaced by Uday Singh Kumawat. Kumar will now take over as the Principal Secretary of the tourism department. The decision comes at a time when the state is already facing issues of reverse migration with lakhs of migrant labourers coming back from other states, causing a steep rise in the number of corona-positive cases.

Kumar, who is widely acclaimed as an upright officer, had taken bold and strong actions against people who were not in line with those in power to contain the Covid-19 crisis in the state. He played a pivotal role in developing strategies to control the situation from going beyond the government’s control. He had been furnishing Covid-related data in the public domain via his Twitter account.

At times, differences between Bihar’s Health Minister Mangal Pandey and Kumar became evident on the social media. Now, it is widely being said that Kumar was transferred because of his bold actions and that he was not following the lines laid by the political masters. The officer was also instrumental in the suspension of the head of Microbiology at Patna Medical College and Hospital (PMCH), Satyendra Narayan Singh. Singh is believed to have proximity with those in power at the Centre and the state.

Not surprisingly, he was reinstated within five days of his suspension on 8 April – and at the same place. Kumar had taken action against some doctors too. The Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) alleged a political vendetta and criticised Chief Minister Nitish Kumar for the transfer of an “upright officer”. Kumar had come back from Jharkhand last year and is regarded very close to that state’s former Chief Minister, Raghubar Das.

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