The deceased, Ashok Khairnar, is the second senior civic official to die after being infected by the virus, which since April, has claimed more than 100 civic employees and infected over 2,000.
A Thane resident originally from Dhule, Khairnar was being treated at Mulund’s Fortis hospital. Civic sources said despite various rounds of treatment, his condition deteoriorated. His death has sent “shockwaves” among civic officials.
On June 8, Shirish Dixit, a 55-year-old deputy municipal commissioner, had passed away at his Mahim residence, hours after testing positive for Covid-19.
Khairnar is survived by his wife, two children, a daughter-in-law, a brother, two sisters, and a large extended family. He was diabetic and civic sources said this worsened his condition as he kept working continuously.
Khairnar was with the BMC since 1988 after completion of his BTech from VJTI, Mumbai. In 2018, he was appointed as an assistant municipal commissioner in BMC’s G-North Ward, which comprises Dadar, Mahim and Dharavi. Around a year later, he was transferred to the H-East Ward where, since the past few months, he was involved in containing the Covid pandemic.
Although the ward was among the first few to have reported 1,000 Covid patients and also over 100 deaths, currently it has the lowest growth rate of cases in Mumbai, at 0.5%, and the highest doubling rate of 116 days compared with the city’s 49-day average.
In June, Khairnar had told TOI that stringent containment measures with police assistance coupled with aggressive screening of Covid suspects had helped the BMC slow the spread of the virus in the H-East Ward, which has a population of around six lakh.Tulip Miranda, local civic corporator, H-East, said Khairnar was very hands-on and was efficiently managing the Covid outbreak in the ward. “Despite the challenges he would systematically answer all our queries patiently, and would also ensure that steps were taken to improve the situation,” said Miranda.