Special Correspondent

Roads dug up without conforming to permitted limits, say Councillors

Engineers accused of not being responsibleGovernment will be asked to recall engineers, says Municipal Council President

SHIMOGA: Digging of roads by a phone company to lay cables in the city came in for criticism at the City Municipal Council meeting here on Monday.

Councillor Shamsundar, who raised the issue, said roads are being dug up without conforming to permitted limits. But no action has been taken against the "erring" company. This points to a nexus between telephone companies and the authorities concerned.

Councillors Ravish, Rajasekhar and R.K. Umesh, who joined the issue, said another phone company has also started digging roads for a distance of 40 to 50 km, while the permission has been granted only for 10 km. The Municipal Council suffered huge losses due to dereliction of duty by officials, they alleged.

MLC Mir Azeez Ahmed said municipal engineers are not functioning in a responsible way. Digging of roads by private phone companies should be reviewed by Public Works Department, Shimoga Urban Development Authority and Town Planning Department, he said.

Additional amount

The engineer concerned said at the meeting that the phone company, which dug up roads in excess of the permitted limit, had to pay an additional Rs. 4.92 lakhs.

But the councillors were not satisfied with his explanation.

They said that the length of the roads dug up by phone companies is two times more than what is permitted.

They demanded that phone company be penalised for violating the terms of the agreement.

Show cause notices

Municipal Commissioner K.M. Dharmappa, who admitted the lapses on the part of the engineers, said that he has already issued them show cause notices.

President of the City Municipal Council B.A. Ramesh Hegde, who presided over the function, said the Government will be asked to recall engineers deputed to the Municipality. The meeting took a serious note of the Government's direction to the Council to recover Rs. 2.78 crores from the officials concerned, including the Commissioner for getting cleaning work done through a private agency.

It was decided to make a representation to the Government explaining the inevitability of engaging private agencies in view of the dearth of cleaning staff.

Shimoga MLA K.S. Eshwarappa was annoyed at the manner in which the Council President furnished details to his queries regarding water problems in the city.

Mr. Ahmed suggested that water supply be entrusted to the Karnataka Water Supply and Sewage Board, as the Municipality is not able to discharge its duty properly.