Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Peeved CM Takes On Officials, Demands Visible Action

Show progress or face action’
Peeved CM Takes On Officials, Demands Visible Action
The Times of India

Bangalore: “I will not tolerate flooding in Bangalore city and CMC areas. You, your engineer-in-chief and DC (Urban) will be held directly responsible.’’

Thus thundered chief minister H D Kumaraswamy at the officials of BMP, BDA and the urban development department at a meeting held on Tuesday to review the progress of civic works. BMP personnel made a presentation on measures taken to contain flooding in the major valleys and drains. Their new initiative SWORD (storm water obstruction removal drive) got the go-ahead, but he was not to be placated with statistics about packages and crores of money.

He was especially peeved with lack of visible work at Puttenahalli, K R Puram, Madiwala. In early March, Kumaraswamy had visited these places and said he was moved by the plight of people living on drain slabs. “I have already said I will support you in removing encroachments, why hasn’t it been done still?’’ he asked. Officials tried explaining, “At Puttenahalli, land acquisition from various quarters is on but we are facing resistance from local henchmen.’’

Pushing the Puttenahalli problem further, the CM wanted to know what desilting measures had been taken up at potential flood-prone places. “We have spent Rs 3 crore on Sarakki Lake,’’ offered officials. “The place doesn’t look like any money has been spent,’’ was the CM’s retort.

Kumaraswamy’s ultimatum to officials: “No, I am not happy or satisfied with the work, why don’t you adopt new technologies?’’ Taking a dig at some officials’ foreign junkets, Kumaraswamy chaffed them with, “You are all going to China etc, I have seen these places myself and have seen authorities finish major work in three months. In Bangalore, I’m hearing the same excuses for three months now.’’

A watchful Kumaraswamy even pulled up some senior IAS officers for making irresponsible statements in the media. On the issue of deadlines on roads, an officer had said, Go and ask the CM that. Kumaraswamy reacted: “I look simple but I am a hardcore decision maker. If you are cultivating that attitude, better leave’’.

Lake development
Stripping the Lake Development Authority (LDA) of its ‘minor’ powers, the CM said development, maintenance of Bangalore’s lakes would henceforth be the prerogative of the BMP and the BDA. Kumaraswamy said both the civic agencies had to take responsibility of lakes. In a casual vein he added, “people anyway think that BMP and BDA are responsible, so they might as well do this formally.’’ Interestingly, the state budget had made a mention of “transfer of power from the LDA.’’ With this, lakes coming under BMP limits would be tackled by BMP and similarly with the BDA.

Tuesday’s meeting saw a discussion on the importance of preserving lake beds which sustain fresh water and rain water.

What the CM said?

•HSR Layout has been cleaned up and asphalted: Agara lake should be clean, I don’t want flooding

•There will be night patrolling at drains to catch offenders: All debris should be removed by May 15

•Madiwala works have been entrusted to KLAC because no bidder came for tenders: Let last year’s problem not be repeated on Hosur Road

•40 per cent asphalting work has been accomplished: Progress will be reviewed in 3 weeks

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