Departments of Information, Tourism and Kannada and Culture may be combined into one
No deputy directors of information in 23 districts Funds sanctioned to complete `Vaartha Bhavan'
BANGALORE: Faced with the problem of acute shortage of staff and facilities in the departments of Information; Kannada and Culture; and Tourism at the district and taluk level, the Government proposes to merge them.
Two decades ago there were two departments, Information and Tourism, and Kannada and Culture, Youth Services and Sports. They were subsequently split into four departments. Each of them is now reportedly facing shortage of staff and facilities. The first three departments have been brought under one Secretary, laying the ground for a subsequent merger.
Incidentally, the Secretary to Government, Department of Information, Kannada and Culture and Tourism, I.M. Vittala Murthy, had served as director in all three departments.
In a shambles
The Department of Information is in a shambles.
The department has no deputy directors in 23 districts and not one of the 175 taluks have any officer from the department.
The Information Department that till recently had only a Director as the head was upgraded with a Commissioner heading it. Of the 11 deputy directors, nine are stationed in Bangalore while the department has no staff in 23 districts including Gulbarga, Uttara Kannada, Kolar, Tumkur, Mandya and Chitradurga. Of the nine deputy directors, two are in the Chief Minister's Secretariat. Senior assistant directors in-charge of the 23 districts have to travel 100 to 200 km to procure information. The deputy directors in Bangalore Urban and Rural districts function from Bangalore.
Assistant directors, who were in-charge of some 16 sub-divisions have been withdrawn. For example, in Kolar district, the Assistant Director has to travel 110 km to reach Gauribidanur and his counterpart in Tumkur district has to travel a long distance to reach the naxal-affected Pavagada and Madhugiri.
The good news is that the Government has sanctioned Rs. 3 crore for completing the construction of the "Vaartha Bhavan" on Bhagwan Mahaveer Road, which may be ready for occupation in six months.
The department said that Rs. 1 crore had been released and the financial tender would be called in a month to complete the work.
The construction of the seven-storey building ran into rough weather and work stopped after it reached the third floor three years ago. Meanwhile, the departments of Kannada and Culture and Tourism have reportedly come forward to finance Rs. 1 crore each to build one floor.