BANGALORE: The state faces a unique stumbling block when it comes to receiving funds from the Union government. Fund allotment is hampered with only bureaucrats such as IAS and IFS officers, and not persons with sound expertise in the necessary field, heading such departments.
Departments such as the Minor Irrigation Department, Krishna Bhagya Jala Nigama Limited, Cauvery Neeravari Nigama Limited, Karnataka Urban Infrastructure and Finance Corporation, Karnataka Police Housing Corporation Limited, Karnataka Road Development Corporation to name a few are some of the major departments that are headed by the ‘Babus’, despite the bodies requiring people with engineering skills. This naturally opens up posers on the handling of various technical documents.
Speaking to Express, M Nagaraj of the Karnataka Engineering Association said, “The IAS, IPS and IFS officers have sound knowledge of administration, but certainly not technology. Since they are the decision-making authorities, there is a hinderance. Decisions on construction of structures such as houses, roads and bridges should be solely made by engineers.”
He added that the situation was due to the strong lobby of the IAS Officers’ Association. Nagaraj added that this was also reflective of the delays in completion of various government projects, that result in cost inflation. “The administrative officers do not understand the practical difficulties. The situation can be likened to asking an oncologist to perform the duty of an ophthalmologist.”
Of Promotions in Abeyance and a ‘Technical’ Nexus
It is said that the promotions of 44 chief engineers who were supposed to be promoted as engineers-in-chief in the PWD, Water Resources and other departments were halted as the posts were occupied by bureaucrats. Also, the trend to seek technical reports from consulting agencies has been on the upswing of late, with these agencies receiving the backing of none other than the administrators themselves.
With projects valued at around Rs 36,000 crores being implemented by various agencies, these bodies earn hefty amounts even if a 1-1.5 per cent charge is made for the reports. The chief engineers claim that these reports can be generated by their engineers. They allege that such agencies do not have any credibility and responsibility as far as the technical reports they generate are concerned.