Bureaucrat Prateek Hajela, who was earlier the coordinator for National Register of Citizens in Assam, has been removed from his new role as health commissioner of Madhya Pradesh amid the Covid-19 pandemic, The Indian Express reported on Thursday.
The new Bharatiya Janata Party government in Madhya Pradesh removed Hajela from his post for “showing grave negligence towards his duties” at the time of the pandemic. Principal Secretary Faiz Ahmed Kidwai has been given additional charge of health commissioner.
Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan ordered Hajela’s removal after addressing a meeting to review the state’s preparedness to tackle Covid-19. An official release quoted Chouhan as saying “no negligent officer will be spared”, according to The Indian Express.
Last year, the Supreme Court had asked the Centre to transfer Hajela from Assam to Madhya Pradesh. Hajela, a 1995-batch Indian Administrative Service officer of the Assam-Meghalaya cadre, was involved in the task of updating the NRC since September 2013.
After the publication of the NRC in Assam, members of both the BJP and the Congress had criticised the register as well as Hajela. Cases were filed against Hajela for allegedly excluding bonafide Indians from the updated citizens’ list deliberately.
Madhya Pradesh so far has 66 positive cases of Covid-19.