‘They sat on their hands for the last three months, misinterpreting directives’
Mayor D. Venkatesh Murthy squarely blamed the havoc caused by the recent heavy rain on “inefficient officials” of the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), especially those in the storm-water drain department.
He told presspersons here earlier in the week the officials had done nothing to remove silt from drains nor had they taken any other precautionary measures such as clearing encroachments to prevent flooding in low-lying areas. “The previous Commissioner had frozen some projects deemed unnecessary. A few other projects could not be taken up because of the election code of conduct. Using this pretext, the officials have not taken up any project to prevent flooding over the past three months.” This is despite High Court directives, he said.
“I had issued directions about precautionary measures ahead of the monsoon at the council meeting held on May 23. The officials should have immediately got to work. As elected representatives, we can only instruct officials; we cannot execute the projects ourselves.”
Mr. Murthy said he had directed BBMP Commissioner M. Lakshminarayana to take stringent action against the guilty officials. “He may either transfer them to another department or suspend them. Officials on deputation may be sent back to their parent departments.”
Mr. Lakshminarayana maintained there was no shortage of funds to take up emergency projects. “The financial status of the BBMP has more or less stabilised. We only need to prioritise the projects.”
Earlier in the day, the Mayor chaired a meeting on rain preparedness along with Mr. Lakshminarayana. Deputy Mayor L. Srinivas, Ruling Party Leader N. Nagaraju, Opposition Leader M.K. Gunashekar and Janata Dal (Secular) Floor Leader Thimme Gowda attended the meeting.