D. Venkatesh Murthy’s last meeting as Mayor witnessed councillors complaining about poor administration in the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP). Right from lapses in the education department to lack of monitoring in various other departments, it was complaints galore at the BBMP council’s monthly meeting on Thursday.
Moodalapalya councillor Shantakumari complained about schoolchildren in BBMP-run institutions not getting textbooks, uniforms or even shoes yet. “It is almost time for mid-term examinations and students are yet to get textbooks. When I contacted the education officer, he told me to close the school.” She also said there was staff shortage in schools with good student strength, while it was not the case with those with poor strengths.
Supporting her, former Deputy Mayor S. Harish said shoes that are supplied to students were of inferior quality.
He said high school students were given size three shoes and claimed that these were chosen from one particular vendor alone. “Companies like Bata and Liberty were rejected and this one vendor was chosen. Each pair cost Rs. 900, much higher than good quality shoes.”
In response, additional commissioner (Welfare) Hemoji Naik said the files pertaining to the procurement of textbooks and uniforms were ready by May end.
However, he said the files were still pending with the standing committee, awaiting approval.
Mr. Harish sought to know what action was being taken by officials of the advertisement department to remove unauthorised hoardings that had come up across the city.
He said that according to the department there were only 1,997 hoardings. “What about the 2,000 other hoardings? By stating that there only 1,997 hoardings the department has indirectly stated that all the others are unauthorised. Why have these not been removed?” he said.
Several other councillors also agreed and said that with officials going slow against removal of unauthorised hoardings the BBMP was losing quite a bit of revenue.
Mr. Lakshminarayan said the State government had recently approved the BBMP’s advertisement bylaws which would help the civic body garner more revenue by way of advertisement tax. The authorities were now in the process of framing guidelines for the bylaws. He also added that zonal teams would be formed to ascertain the number of hoardings, including unauthorised ones, in the city.
Earlier, there was clamour among the councillors from K. R. Puram Assembly constituency about the violation of protocol.
Devasandra councillor Manjula Devi complained that the BBMP engineers had not invited her to one of the ward programmes and had instead invited only the local MLA.
The other councillors stated that while the MLA was also member of the council, the officials should maintain protocol and inform the councillor and then the MLA.