KARNATAKA

Corridors



The wedding stays big and fat



Amidst all the talk about demonetisation, there was also much curiosity about how it would hit the blockbuster wedding of mining baron and former Minister Gali Janardhan Reddy’s daughter Brahmini. After all, the man, known to deal with hard cash (and loads of it), would have stocked up for wedding-related transactions. Social media groups were flooded with memes of Mr. Reddy’s family inviting people to a “temple wedding”, mocking the Bollywood-style video-embedded wedding invite that he had distributed.

However, as the wedding date nears, there is no sign of any scaling down of the big fat Rs. 500-crore wedding. The sets at the wedding venue (Palace Grounds) that reconstruct the “golden age” of the Vijayanagar empire are all in place and how! Top stars are expected to perform on the wedding day. Large display screens, drones and an array of hi-tech equipment are to be used, we hear. All this while the poor and middle class stand in serpentine queues for Rs. 100 notes.

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Sait in a scandal



Does viewing objectionable pictures on cellphones ring the knell for political careers? In the past, such episodes have ruined the careers of quite a few politicians. The latest to get into trouble is Minister for Primary and Secondary Education Tanvir Sait. A Kannada TV channel showed Mr. Sait purportedly scrolling sleazy images on his mobile phone. The TV images that went viral have not only embarrassed the Congress leadership but may also have badly dented Mr. Sait’s image and career.

Back in 2012, the BJP government sacked three Ministers who were accused of watching pornographic videos in the Legislative Assembly while the House was discussing the severe drought that had hit the State. Of the three, Krishna Palemar and C.C. Patil lost the 2013 Assembly elections, while Laxman Savadi was elected.

Though it cannot be entirely said that the two BJP candidates lost because of the scandal, it is seen to be a strong factor. Mr. Sait hails from Mysuru district, from where former Congress leader V. Srinivas Prasad also hails. His unhappiness at being removed from the Cabinet and subsequent resignation of the Assembly seat are seen to impact the party’s Dalit vote bank. With by-elections to Nanjangud due, there is fear that Mr. Sait’s exit may prove costly for the party.

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Outsourcing Group ‘D’ jobs



With its new plan to hire Group ‘D’ employees, the State Health Department seems to have taken a leaf out the private sector’s book. Last week, Minister for Health and Family Welfare K.R. Ramesh Kumar (in picture) said over 5,000 vacancies of ward assistants, sanitary attendants and drivers at all health centres in the State would be filled by outsourcing to private agencies. An order was issued last month. Deputy Commissioners were authorised to call tenders and select vendors to these posts. The Minister argued that the move would reduce the cost burden on the State exchequer and also improve efficiency and accountability in government hospitals. Apart from routine duties, Group ‘D’ employees, who form the bottom-most rung of staff, are closely involved with patient care.

By entrusting their jobs to third parties, can the department ensure that these tender tasks will be done in a responsible manner?

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Transfers in quick succession



The quick transfers of three Belagavi City Corporation Commissioners within a month have been shocking to say the least. Recently, A. Dinesh Sampathraj, Under Secretary, DPAR (Services-1), issued an order transferring M.P. Mullai Muhilan as BCC Commissioner; he was to hold the additional charge of Chief Executive Officer of the special purpose company for Belagavi’s Smart City Project. However, in less than 24 hours, a fresh order was issued cancelling Mr. Muhilan’s posting. In the earlier instances, G. Prabhu was first transferred during the second half of September after a year’s stint.

He was replaced by Belagavi Urban Development Authority Commissioner Shashidhar Kurer. Mr. Kurer was in office for hardly a month when Mr. Muhilan was named to the post. An officer laconically remarked: “It is the government’s prerogative, after all.”

Bageshree S.

Nagesh Prabhu

Vijaykumar Patil

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