Published On: Fri, Jun 12th, 2020

J Radhakrishnan brought back as TN Health Secy amid soaring COVID-19 cases

Chennai: Amid surging COVID-19 cases, the Tamil Nadu government on Friday shunted out Health Secretary Beela Rajesh and brought back her predecessor J Radhakrishnan, who had a long stint helming the department and hands on experience in tackling crisis situations.

IAS officer J Radhakrishnan

A 1997 batch IAS officer, Rajesh, who had become the face of the health department through her daily media briefings on COVID-19, has been transferred to the Commercial Taxes and Registration Department, a Government Order said.

Radhakrishnan, presently Principal Secretary and Commissioner of Revenue Administration, has been posted as Principal Secretary to Health and Family Welfare Department, the order said.

The transfer of the top health official comes against the backdrop of the state recording 1,500 plus fresh virus cases on a daily basis from Sunday.

Tamil Nadu’s tally of positive cases and toll stood at 38,716 and 349 respectively as on Thursday and Chennai’s infection count alone was 27,398 while its share of deaths 279.

“It is a challenging task. With the cooperation of the people, all government departments, and multi-disciplinary teams, we will work to overcome the crisis,” Radhakrishnan told PTI when asked about him assuming the office of health secretary again.

A medical doctor, 50-year old Rajesh had been leading the health department in the COVID-19 battle since January when the state started screening arriving international passengers and lauded for her poise while handling a volley of questions from the media.

Incidentally, Radhakrishnan, a 1992 batch IAS officer, was on May 1 appointed as Special Nodal Officer for Greater Chennai Corporation to coordinate coronavirus related issues with the civic body chief.

The 53-year old officer, a veterinary doctor (MVSc) was the Health Secretary from September 2012 till February 2019 when Rajesh had succeeded him.

He was the district collector of Nagapattinam when the coastal region was ravaged by the tsunami in 2004 and he was credited with for the swift relief and rehabilitation works.

In his capacity as head of the health department, Radhakrishnan was among top state officials who had a tab on the treatment of Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa in 2016 at the Apollo Hospitals here till her demise in December that year.

“He (Radhakrishnan) will continue to hold the post of Principal Secretary and Commissioner of Revenue Administration in full additional charge until further orders,” the G.O said.


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