Officials of the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) are responsible for all the rain-related damage in the city, Mayor D Venkatesh Murthy told reporters on Tuesday.
“They failed to take measures to avert flooding in low-lying areas and other rain-related incidents,” he alleged. The then BBMP commissioner Siddaiah had instructed officials not to start any new work as the election code of conduct was in force, he said. “But officials did not complete even ongoing works, including de-silting of drains and filling of potholes, for the last three months,” the Mayor said.
Murthy said he has directed the present Commissioner to suspend inefficient officials. “If they are from other departments, send them back. We do not need their services,” he said.
On the role of elected representatives in getting works done, the Mayor said, “We can order or direct officials to take up the works, but they have to execute them. Even if we get complaints from the public, we end up informing the officials who should take up the works.”
According to the Mayor, the BBMP officials had lost interest in the works as they knew that the former commissioner (Siddaiah) was retiring and they will get a new boss. “Had they shown the same interest in these works, we would have been better prepared to deal with the rain problems,” he said.
The Mayor blamed the BWSSB, BESCOM and telecom operators for digging up roads and not closing them properly. He also blamed BBMP Chief Engineer (Storm Water Drain) Ananthaswamy for the mess.
When contacted by Express, BBMP Commissioner M Lakshminarayana admitted to lapses on the part of officials, but affirmed the problems arising from the heavy rain were rectified within a couple of hours. “On Friday night, 32 trees collapsed and by Saturday morning, we were able to clear them all. The efforts of the BBMP officials need to be appreciated,” he said.
Mayor missing in action
While Commissioner Lakshminarayana and District In-charge Minister Ramalinga Reddy conducted a joint inspection of the city on Saturday after the heavy rain on Friday night, the Mayor did not visit any rain-affected areas except his ward, which he did only on Monday.
'No calamity relief funds yet'
Lakshminarayana said the Central government gives Natural Calamity Relief Funds to state governments and they, in turn, give it to City Corporations and Municipalities. “We are yet to receive these funds. If we get these funds, we can take up the works more effectively. At present, funds are spent by the BBMP,” he said.