The Uttarakhand government has appointed the 1983 batch retired IAS office Bhaskar Khulbe as the officer on special duty (OSD) to look after the reconstruction works at Badrinath and Kedarnath shrines. A West Bengal cadre official, Khulbe was appointed in the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) in 2014 and served in different capacities – additional secretary, later secretary and then advisor – till February this year. His last tenure at the PMO was as an advisor to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
A native of Uttarakhand, Khulbe’s appointment is seen as crucial since reconstruction of the revered Hindu shrines has remained a prime focus of the PMO. In fact, PM Modi had visited the Kedarnath shrine several times and reiterated commitment for “rapid development”.
“The notification of the appointment of Bhaskar Khulbe has been issued. His appointment remains till February 28 next year, ”confirmed Dilip Jawalkar, secretary (tourism), to News18. Though sources say the official’s appointment could be extended beyond February.
After former advisor Nripendra Misra, Khulbe is the second official from PMO who will look after the crucial projects related to Kedarnath and Badrinath. In February 2020, former advisor Nripendra Misra was appointed as the chairman of the Sri Ramjanmbhoomi Trust to oversee the Ram temple construction work.
Officials said Khulbe will double up as a bridge between the state and Center on Kedarnath and Badrinath shrine reconstruction projects. The works at Kedarnath shrine is presently in the second phase. The Kedarnath shrine town was rebuild after the 2013 deluge. The government has also started facelift of the Badrinath shrine town this year.