Saturday, February 26, 2005

For Jerome, home is where the heart is

For Jerome, home is where the heart is
The Times of India

Bangalore: Out of Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) for the past seven months, ‘demolition man’ and senior bureaucrat Jayakar Jerome’s passion for his old posting as the Authority’s commissioner still lingers.

“As a sixth generation Bangalorean, I got a chance to do something for the city to which I belong. Very few get such opportunities,’’ Jerome, who takes over as Maharashtra governor S.M. Krishna’s secretary, told The Times of India here. Credited with turning around BDA as commissioner from 1999-2004, the ‘demolition man’ tag stuck to him for reclaiming 760 acres of BDA land in and around Bangalore from those who had put up illegal structures.

Candid that people seek private developers only when the BDA is inactive he said: “The difference between BDA and private developers is the former develops a layout and then hands it over to the local civic body.’’ With the city bursting at the seams, his prescription for BDA, whose jurisdiction also extends beyond Bangalore, is : “The future of Bangalore lies in outskirts like Anjanapura. In old parts of Bangalore there is nothing much one can tinker with. Roads are narrow and flyovers and underpasses have their own constraints.’’

Except when he was former Karnataka governor Khurshed Alam Khan’s secretary and Karnataka Housing Board commissioner for a brief period, Jerome always made news. “I got the maximum support from deputy chief minister Siddaramaiah when he was in charge of labour and I was labour commissioner. The government abolished contract labour in industries. Managements challenged the decision, but the Supreme court upheld the government’s move,’’ he stated.

Packing his bags to report in Mumbai on March 1, Jerome, who was shunted to a corner in his last posting as secretary, minority welfare deparment, said: “The governor is not new to me. The government can utilise a bureaucrat’s service where it thinks best. But it is better to go where you are wanted.’’


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