He does not draw
his salary nor does he
use his official car
SHIMOGA: He does not use the official car nor does he draw his monthly salary. He scrupulously avoids all perks and other facilities that go with his coveted post. This may sound incredible. But the first citizen of Shimoga has become a role model for others.
President of the Shimoga City Municipal Council M. Shankar has blazed a new trail, particularly when complaints about the misuse of official machinery are mounting.
He uses his old scooter for his morning rounds in the wards and for other official work. As such the official air-conditioned car is not in use. It is lying idle in the office garage ever since he assumed office while the driver assigned to this vehicle has been sent to the Shimoga Urban Development Authority on deputation.
His simple and unassuming style of functioning has come in for wide appreciation as it ensures a monthly saving of Rs. 50,000 to the Council.
And, his decision not to avail himself of salary of Rs. 3,000 and telephone allowance of Rs. 2,500 a month has not come in way of his routine work.
Mr. Shankar has made extensive visits to 26 wards and intends to cover the remaining nine shortly. He rides his scooter when he is on ward rounds. He, however, walks in the interior areas to be in direct touch with the people. He says this helps them pour out their grievances without any hassles.
Besides, he visits the Krishnaraja Water Treatment Plant in the night once in a week to oversee the water distribution work. He skips his ward visit the next day. But he is back at the municipal office around 8 a.m. to attend to his office work. He meets the public between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. on all working days.
Mr. Shankar, who is the son of the former MLA from Shimoga, late M. Anand Rao, was elected to the council as a BJP candidate from the Ravindra Nagar ward.
Though the BJP came to power winning 19 seats in the 35-member council in the last municipal elections, the election to the key post was not a smooth affair as it became contentious with Mr. Shankar and J.N. Subhash aspiring for it.
As per the understanding that was arrived at with the intervention of the party’s senior leaders, Mr. Shankar was made president for the first 15 months. Mr. Subhash will be council president for the next 15.
The strikingly different approach adopted by Mr. Shankar in dispensing with all pomp and show in a bid to ensure efficient administration will be remembered for long.