Delhi government has appointed health minister Satyendar Jain as the new transport minister. The minister holding the portfolio, Gopal Rai, had reportedly asked Delhi Chief Minister to relieve him of the charge on health grounds.
Rai, who is also the minister for employment, development, labour, general administration and irrigation and flood control departments, recently underwent a surgery to get a bullet removed from his neck.
HT had on June 9 reported that Rai asked Kejriwal to relieve him of his duties as transport minister. According to sources, Rai said that since the transport department had a heavy workload, he would not be able to do justice to it in his present condition.
Rai has been undergoing physiotherapy at the Indian Spinal Injuries Centre and is housed in the hospital.
The Aam Aadmi Party government's push for public transport made Rai's portfolio a crucial one.
The two phases of the odd-even road rationing scheme were spearheaded by Rai, who went around the city in a bus to assess the situation on the road. The transport department is involved in the implementation of the scheme on the ground.
The AAP government is looking at a major push in the public transport sector in the coming months and has promised a better network of Delhi Transport Corporation, dedicated bus lanes and elevated roads as well as a bus aggregator application.
"Rai told the CM that he will need a few months to recuperate and that the transport department carries a very heavy workload. He requested that he be relieved of his duties as transport minister. His physiotherapy is expected to last three months," sources had said.
Rai had undergone surgery in early May to remove the bullet lodged deep in his neck 17 years ago when he was shot at in Lucknow University during a student agitation. He had suffered complete quadriplegia (neck down paralysis) for more than a year.