The transfer order comes at a time when Tamil Nadu has over 38,000 cases.

Collage of Beela Rajesh and J Radhakrishnan
news Politics Friday, June 12, 2020 - 11:20

The Tamil Nadu government has transferred Health Secretary Beela Rajesh, bringing back its trusted hand J Radhakrishnan to the post. The transfer order comes at a time when Tamil Nadu has seen over 38,000 cases of COVID-19 across the state with Chennai seeing 27,000 patients. 

On Friday, the Tamil Nadu government issued an order appointing J Radhakrishnan as the new Health Secretary by transferring Beela Rajesh, who was holding the post from February 17, 2019. The Health Secretary to the Government Dr Beela Rajesh, IAS has been transferred and posted as Secretary to Government, Commercial Taxes and Registration Department in the place of N Muruganandam IAS, who was holding the additional charge.

J Radhakrishnan will continue to hold the post of Principal Secretary/Commissioner of Revenue Administration in full additional charge until further orders.

A doctor by qualification, Beela Rajesh previously held the post of Commissioner for Indian Medicine and Homeopathy before being appointed as the Principal Secretary of Health on February 17, 2019. 

Beela Rajesh’s transfer will create a huge political buzz in Tamil Nadu and speculations have already started on why the officer was transferred out during the crucial juncture. When Beela Rajesh took over the press briefings from Minister of Health and Family Welfare C Vijayabaskar, she became the government’s most visible face during the pandemic. The department lately has come under a lot of pressure and flak for the way it handled the pandemic.

Bringing in J Radhakrishnan

In May, no one was surprised when the Tamil Nadu government that was battling rising cases of COVID-19 appointed him as the special nodal officer for Greater Chennai Corporation (GCC), to help oversee the lockdown measures and to coordinate between the GCC and other teams formed to handle COVID-19 related protocols.

Radhakrishnan, an IAS officer of the 1992 cadre held the Health portfolio from 2012 till February 2019 and was transferred as the Transport Secretary to Government, following which IAS Dr Beela Rajesh took over as the Health Secretary.

Dr J Radhakrishnan,is well-known as a crisis expert, with former Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa posting him on the frontlines during several disasters.

The senior bureaucrat has held various important positions in the past from serving as GCC’s Commissioner in 2000 to being the district Collector of Nagapattinam during its worst crisis - the tsunami of 2004. He was also appointed the Assistant Country Director, Disaster Management for the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). Radhakrishnan also served as district collector of Thanjavur and was tasked with handling the tragic aftermath of the 2004 Kumbakonam school fire which killed 94 students.

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