BENGALURU: The crucial post of commissioner in the state’s food and civil supplies department has seen 19 occupants in the last four-and-a-half years since the Siddaramaiah government took over the reins of the state, in an apparent indication of the rot in the system. While this is a violation of the Supreme Court direction to provide a reasonable tenure for bureaucrats to ensure efficiency, the revelation comes amid allegations by opposition parties and activists of irregularities in the public distribution system, especially in the Chief Minister’s pet Anna Bhagya scheme.
The commissioner in any department is the enforcing authority for acts and policies framed by the government. In this case, the commissioner is responsible for allocation of food grains and other items distributed through fair price shops. The officer also has to check for pilferage and adulteration and monitor issuing and deletion of ration cards.
According to the data available with The New Indian Express, since June 2013, 16 Indian Administrative Service (IAS) and Karnataka Administrative service (KAS) officers were appointed to the post so far, and a couple of them served for more than once in the post. Their tenures ranged from about one year to just three days.
As such, there were 14 transfers and there were also four in-charge commissioners who took over when the incumbent was on leave or training. Thus, on an average, each officer served as commissioner for only less than three months. And one officer -- Manoj Kumar -- was transferred within three days of his being posted. Naveen Rajsimhas served for just one month, and R R Jannu and Ajay Nagabhushan for little more than a month.
One of the commissioners, Anurag Tewari, died mysteriously in Lucknow on May 17 last year while on a visit there. While the CBI is investigating his death, his brother has alleged that Anurag was murdered because he was in the process of revealing a major scam in the department. Incidentally, the department under the Siddaramaiah government has also seen two ministers – first Dinesh Gundurao and now U T Khader.