Numbers? What numbers?

THE BRUHAT Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), quick to blame the stray dog situation in the city to the mushrooming of illegal meat and chicken stalls, surprisingly does not have any details on the number of these illicit joints.

At a press conference recently, top BBMP officials who briefed presspersons about the civic body's trade licence scheme, admitted they did not know how many illegal stalls existed in the city. In fact, they even did not know the number of licensed shops.

Dismissing queries from presspersons on the dog menace, the officials (a joint commissioner and a deputy commissioner) admitted the Health Department had not kept a tab on traders doing business without a valid licence. Though the licence scheme related to trades concerning public health, neither the Deputy Commissioner (Health) nor the Commissioner were present at the press conference. The Chief Health Officer, who popped in just for 10 minutes, tiptoed away when she realised she would have to answer some discomforting queries on the dog menace.

Iron Maiden foxes police

THE PERFORMANCE by the Iron Maiden band in the city on Saturday evening might have enthralled their fans, but the heavy metal icons made a few police officers bang their heads in despair, particularly those working in the Central Division.

The show was held at Palace Grounds, which falls under High Grounds police station limits in Seshadripuram sub-division.

With some 35,000 people thronging the venue, yes, security was an issue. However, the real bugbear was not security arrangements but "arranging" free passes for assorted politicians, senior IPS and IAS officers and even the members of the fourth estate, their friends, and friends of their friends.

Almost every second telephone call police officers in the Central Division had been receiving since Thursday were from senior bureaucrats and politicians asking for passes.

The requests were by no means modest: every VIP tried to cadge at least 10 free passes each though they could well afford to buy them. The organisers of the show issued more than 500 passes to police officers, who in turn distributed them to local heavyweights, a senior official said.

The hard way

THERE ARE two types of government officials: those savvy in dealing with politicians and those rather naive about the political games they could get caught in, as one official who deals in providing essential services learnt the hard way.

Recently, the official was summoned by a local politician to deal with a problem affecting the area he stays in.

When his rivals learnt about the top official meeting the politician, they astutely pre-empted the rendezvous by orchestrating a protest and refusing to disperse until the official came to the spot.

"I had to spend the entire day there for a problem that was about to be solved in the evening," the official confessed to this reporter glumly.

Afshan Yasmeen,

K.V. Subramanya,

Swathi Shivanand