BANGALORE: From advocating the need to trifurcate Bangalore for better administration, to seeking punitive clauses to keep the city clean, outgoing BBMP commissioner Siddaiah tells TOI there is no quick-fix solution to end the garbage menace. “It pains me to see the well-dressed educated lot riding a car on the one hand and throwing garbage on the road on the other,” says the commissioner who bows out of office on May 31 after a 37-year stint as a bureaucrat.
Excerpts from an interview:
What does it feel to complete 37 years with the Indian Administrative Service?
It’s a challenge every day. There is a sense of pride in working for the city that I have grown with. I have performed my best in every task assigned to me.
You took over as BBMP chief at a time when the city was reeling under the garbage crisis. What are the lessons learnt?
I was not inevitable. There were other capable officers too. But I realized there is no quick-fix solution to clear the garbage mess in Bangalore. We must opt for punitive clauses to keep the city clean. We still see well-dressed educated persons driving a car on the one hand, and throwing a garbage bag on the road on the other. How do you explain that?
Your measures to strengthen BBMP’s financial position?
I have cracked the bogus bill scam and saved crores of rupees for BBMP. Even two days ago, I shelved unnecessary projects running into Rs 530 crore. The infamous midnight tender scam is a good example to understand what was happening in the Palike. Besides, its self-assessment scheme has been misused by many property owners. Any building over 3,000 sq ft area has to be cross-checked by the civic agency during property tax payment to confirm if the extent of tax paid is as per the measurement. There is nexus between property owners and BBMP officials. There are a number of instances where taxpayers pay commercial charges to Bescom and then pay residential tax slabs to BBMP for the same property.
You were a midnight commissioner…
It’s at night when the city unfolds its natural self. Most of the illegal cable-lying and road-cutting works happen then and we were able to check such violations. I think midnight inspections are necessary for BBMP.
Any unfinished agenda?
Though we call Bangalore an IT hub and a city of intellectuals, this hardly shows in citizens’ civic behavior. We couldn’t implement proper segregation of garbage at source due to lack of public cooperation. It’s easy to blame BBMP, but keeping the city clean is everyone’s duty.
To improve quality of life, we must divide Bangalore into three halves. Trifurcation can ensure better administration. One commissioner for 198 wards is not at all feasible. Decentralization is the key for successful administration.
Source: The Times of India, Bangalore