Member’s question on garbage tender extension angers others

“What is the reason behind the extension of the old garbage contracts? Is it because you have received kickbacks from the garbage contractors?”

This question posed by K.L. Thimmananjaiah, Peenya Industrial Area councillor, in the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) council on Friday, witnessed heated exchange of words between him and several others, including those from the Opposition parties.

It all began when Mr. Thimmananjaiah sought to know why the copy of the new garbage tender for his ward, which had almost been finalised, had not yet been submitted to the Karnataka High Court, which is hearing the case pertaining to new garbage tenders. He then asked if kickbacks were the reason for the extension of the old garbage contracts.

Councillors protest

Irate councillors demanded Mr. Thimmananjaiah’s suspension, accusing him of making unsubstantiated claims. They urged Mayor D. Venkatesh Murthy to direct the council staff to expurgate the statements. Sunkenahalli councillor P.N. Sadashiva said that by exercising powers under Rule 88 of the Karnataka Municipal Corporations Act 1976, the Mayor could suspend Mr. Thimmananjaiah.

Mayor Murthy sought the opinion of Opposition Leader M.K. Gunashekar and Janata Dal (S) Floor Leader T. Thimme Gowda, who said Mr. Thimmananjaiah should apologise and his statements removed from the records.

Addressing the councillor, the Mayor said he could raise questions only if the tender was pending before the council and the Standing Committee for Health. “The tender is in the final stages. Apologise to the House,” he said, and directed the council scribes to remove Mr. Thimmananjaiah’s statement from the records. Eventually, Mr. Thimmananjaiah apologised for his remarks.

School uniforms

Earlier, Mr. Gunashekar said the Ruling Party had failed to ensure that children in BBMP schools received their books, shoes and uniforms even four months after the schools reopened.

‘Obligatory duty’

Mr. Murthy said that in his 13 years (as a councillor), the civic authority has not been able to deliver these on time to the children even once. “Running schools and hospitals is BBMP’s obligatory duty. However, we must also discuss if education and health functions should be handed over to the State government,” he said.

Education Officer in-charge Hanumantha Raju claimed the uniforms had not been supplied only to high school students. “The BBMP has already placed an order with the Karnataka Handloom Development Corporation for the uniforms. As per the terms and conditions, they will be delivered after 90 days. It has been over 50 days since the order was issued and the uniforms will be supplied in a month.”

B. Govindaraju, chairperson of Standing Committee for Education and Sports, said the files relating to this are usually sent to the committee only in June. “If these are tabled in February or March, the uniforms and other items can be distributed to the children when the schools reopen,” he said.