A NEWS REPORT
The civic agency is being spared by no one. Even chief minister Siddaramaiah, who is grieving the loss of his elder son, pulled up the BBMP for its incompetence, which has left the city in its current mess. On Wednesday, the CM surprised the officials of Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) when he called for a review meeting at a short notice. The officials got a rap from the CM, who expressed his displeasure over its failure to foresee and prevent rain-related problems.
Holding the meeting at his home office, ‘Krishna’, Siddaramaiah reportedly said: “In the last 2.5 years, I have extended cooperation on all fronts to improve the image of Bengaluru. I have given enough directions to you [BBMP] in these years by repeatedly holding meetings and touring the city. Yet, you could not foresee the impact of monsoon and prepare accordingly by cleaning the drains and strengthening tank bunds.”
In their defence, the officials claimed the city saw a record rainfall of 250 mm in the last week. The weekly average for the last 50-years was only 118 mm.
Transport minister Ramalinga Reddy told Mirror that Siddaramaiah was angry with the BBMP’s incompetence in handling the situation. “He told officials to work proactively instead of waiting for a deluge to get started. Every year, works are taken up either during monsoon or afterwards. The CM strictly ordered them that cleaning of stormwater drains must be completed before the monsoon begins,” he said.
Rampant encroachment of stormwater drains was the reason for the rain-induced mess, claimed officials. Briefing the media later, Siddaramaiah reiterated that encroachment was the major culprit behind flooding. “We have identified about 1,923 encroachments out of which we have already cleared 823. We will soon evict the remaining. However, these building owners have obtained stay from various courts. But I have instructed the legal wing to appoint a special advocate to vacate these stays and evict encroachment at the earliest,” he said.
ACTION AGAINST OFFICIALS
The CM was also ready to crack the whip on officials who allowed residential layouts to illegally mushroom in the city, especially in the constituencies of BTM Layout and Bommanahalli.
“I have instructed the urban development department to find the people who permitted the formation of Duo Layout, Anugraha Layout and Akshayanagara Layout.
These are said to be illegal layouts and we will take action against officials who permitted their formation,” said Siddaramaiah.