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Will not allow weakening of Lokayukta: Bhardwaj

Special Correspondent
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Governor says the institution has rendered exemplary service and has done Karnataka proud

Tough talk:Governor H.R. Bhardwaj inspecting the guard of honour during the 63rd Republic Day celebrations in Bangalore on Thursday.— Photo: V. Sreenivasa Murthy
Tough talk:Governor H.R. Bhardwaj inspecting the guard of honour during the 63rd Republic Day celebrations in Bangalore on Thursday.— Photo: V. Sreenivasa Murthy

Expressing concern over corruption in public life, Governor H.R. Bhardwaj on Thursday said dilution or weakening of the Karnataka Lokayukta would not be allowed and the independence of the investigation agency would be maintained.

Addressing the State after hoisting the tricolour to mark the 63r{+d}Republic Day at the Field Marshal Manekshaw Parade Grounds here amid tight security, the Governor said the Karnataka Lokayukta had rendered an exemplary service and done the State proud. “Let me assure you that there shall be no dilution or weakening of the Lokayukta.”

Mr. Bhardwaj, who earlier took salute and inspected the guard of honour in an open jeep, said there was a strong discontent in society and there was lack of probity in public life. “Society is demanding an environment free from corruption and we will have to work to fulfil it.”

In a 12-page address, Mr. Bhardwaj said any attempt to weaken the administrative structure and institutions should be avoided. “Instead, we should strive to build strong institutions and traditions, which will outlive the individuals who create them.”

Police administration

There is need to work hard to ensure the independence of police administration and providing the security of tenure keeping in mind the recommendations of National Police Commission. The Governor said strict vigil should be maintained on certain fringe elements working overtime to disturb peace and harmony.

Schemes

Noting bottlenecks in implementation of various government programmes, the Governor said loopholes had to be plugged in a timely manner to ensure the fruits of these programmes reached the beneficiaries. “The continuous monitoring and evaluation of government programmes is a must for achieving this objective.”

Karnataka is the first state to establish an independent State Evaluation Authority to evaluate development programmes in a transparent and effective manner to ensure their proper implementation, he said. Referring to appointment of Panchayat Development Officers for strengthening of panchayats, he said: “These young officers get disillusioned because of their immediate exposure to intense political influences and undue pressure brought upon them.”

On the power sector, he said the Government had taken several steps to increase the power generation, but the gap between demand and supply continued to grow. It was necessary to fast track critical infrastructure projects to maintain the momentum of development, Mr. Bhardwaj said.

The State had demonstrated that use of e-procurement in Government could have several benefits and significant savings.

The aim should be to bring entire Government procurement under e-procurement in a time-bound manner to make it transparent and to reduce the cost of procurement of goods and services for the government, the Governor added.

Chief Minister D.V. Sadananda Gowda, Chief Secretary S.V. Ranganath, BBMP Commissioner and Chairman of Republic Day Celebrations Committee M.K. Shankaralinge Gowda and other senior officials attended the programme.

At Home

Mr. Bhardwaj and his wife Prafulata Bhardwaj on Thursday hosted At Home at Raj Bhavan on the occasion of Republic Day.

Chief Minister D.V. Sadananda Gowda, Leader of Opposition in the Legislative Assembly Siddaramaiah, the former Governor of Jharkhand and MP M. Rama Jois, the former Karnataka Governor V.S. Ramadevi, Adviser to Chief Minister on Urban Development A. Ravindra, Chief Secretary S.V. Ranganath, Director-General and Inspector-General of Police Shankar Bidari and a number of senior officers of the State Government attended the annual event.

Unlike in the past, a large number of people from a cross section of society, who attended the function came in a queue and greeted Mr. Bhardwaj for over an hour on the lawns of Raj Bhavan.

Ministers, including those from the city, were conspicuous by their absence.

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