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BMTF and Dr. R.P. Sharma to go ?

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Urban Development

Apparently, BMTF's website inviting online complaints against encroachments and building violations have drawn the unwanted attention of powers that-be and the website http://bmtf.gov.in/ has been brought down unfortunately.

As per the latest Deccan Herald report, BBMP engineers are angry at being issue arrest warrants and are baiting for the scalp of none other than the head of BMTF - ADGP, Dr. R.P.Sharma and to totally disband it.

Is this to be construed as overreach on the part of BMTF ? - probably not, because as per it's mandate - "The functions of the task force shall be better protection of the property belonging to the government, the Bangalore City Corporation (now BBMP), the BDA, the BWSSB, the City Municipal Councils (CMCs) and the Slum Clearance Board in Bangalore." - quoting http://www.deccanherald.com/content/267081/after-16-years-govt-realises.html

Unsubsantiated rumours as per Deccan Herald say that Dr. Sharma might be transferred as early as tomorrow.  In this particular case, BMTF is an oversight body that is much needed in my personal opinion.

Also, as per the same report, BMTF will be "taken-over" by BBMP.

Is there anything we can do to delay/avoid this needless shunting out of officials carrying out their assigned task ?

Comments

psaram42's picture

Hindu Paper March 2012

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Bangalore Metropolitan Task Force (BMTF) chief R.P. Sharma is accused of amalgamating two sites to construct his house at Doddagubbi village in Bidarahalli hobli. Says Hindu report dated Bangalore march 4 2012. Click here to see the article. Is this transfer prelude to taking harsher measures in case of repeat offences?

Bengloorappa's picture

With all due respect, as per

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With all due respect, as per his own explanation back then, this was under Doddagubbi panchayat when he bought and he had allegdly obtained plan sanction from panchayat authorities. I am definetly sure that it doesn't fall under BBMP/BDA jurisdiction.  So, if the reporter was looking for one from BBMP/BDA, there is none.

This case, I believe is just a storm in a tea cup.

P.S: I am in no way related to him.

idontspam's picture

This move is so insulting

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This move is so insulting that its not funny anymore. They arent even trying to maintain a facade anymore, its all so brazen its like a slap on our face.

Bengloorappa's picture

Exactly my point IDS! - can

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Exactly my point IDS! - can we do "anything" about this at all? There is a clear cut case - no one cares about the organisation for 16 years and suddenly when it starts delivering results everyone related gets hunted down. How I wish the high court /metropolitan court takes suo-motu cognizance of the website closure and the transfer of the concerned officials, if indeed gets effected. More Manivannans and R.P.Sharmas are the need of the hour and they need full public backing.
idontspam's picture

BBMP vs Honesty

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Ramesh and other mayors said that they are united to fight against Sharma's outrageous bookings of criminal charges against BBMP engineers and harassing officials, which he is not within his purview.
Sharma has recently broke open many engineers black money piggy banks and brought them under the scanner under BMTF's authority to investigate in the matters relating to BBMP

Source

People should clearly note all these people speaking out against being policed. Our city today is in this sorry state because of these corrupt people in the den called BBMP. We need to demand that all past & present corrupt BBMP folks be imprisoned first & then released after proving their innocence. 

 

murali772's picture

right to loot

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Very soon, I expect, the politicos will bring in a bill to establish their "right to loot".

As also the 'right to undermine the authority of officials' (check this)
 

Muralidhar Rao
Bengloorappa's picture

The suddenly discovered sense

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The suddenly discovered sense of unity amongst BBMP clerical staff, Pourakarmikas, Civil Contractors to join the "strike" is a desperate attempt to prevent any further ramifications and thereby causing any harm to their RTR(right-to-reign).

Ofcourse a large part of BBMP engineers are criminals from atleast the public's view point. Perhaps, this is also a moment to take a step back and reflect on our general attitude of taking the easy way out by bribing during interactions like Khata application and transfer while alternate and delay-prone routes exist.
I wonder if the single window Khata system can be brought back and khata be automatically issued if files are not processed within 30 days as this seems to be where most hapless citizens are harassed.

We should probably take to the street and strike against the "strike" to say enough is enough. It's funny to look at how conscentious have our BBMP employees become!

srinidhi's picture

press needs to go ballastic

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Atleast now the press needs to go on the overdrive to dig into the motives of these BBMP moves and lay it bare so that everyone in the public is aware of it and the mafia at BBMP has no place to go!

Press dumped Anna and his strugle for Lokpal..but I wich they make the difference here atleast!!

Bengloorappa's picture

Anger and short-lived happiness

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BBMP staff now holding Independence day celebrations apart from ofcourse the entire city to ransom. What kind of stupidity is this ?

Quote from - http://www.deccanherald.com/content/270291/palike-staff-target-bmtf-adgp.html

The president of the Association, R Subramanyam, asked the employees and officers to remain united to fight against the injustice meted out by the BMTF.  “Our unity is our strength. We must demonstrate our unity till we achieve the goal. The State government cannot celebrate Independence Day without our support. Private garbage contractors too are supporting us. They have assured us that they will not lift garbage from the City till our demands are met

This line makes me very angry - "They have assured us that they will not lift garbage from the City till our demands are met" - why would private contractors not do the job they are assigned to and paid for ? It should not be at their whims when to work and not!

and this one makes me happy - " The BBMP Employees and Officers' Union, under whose aegis the indefinite strike has been organised, demanded the removal of Additional Director General of Police (ADGP) Dr R P Sharma, who they alleged has unleashed terror in the Palike. They also said that the engineers are living in fear. "

It is very important that BBMP employees fear something/someone. Since they bribe even the deities they worship to absolve their sins and dont fear them, its good to know Dr. R.P. Sharma is giving them nightmares. We need more R.P.Sharma's!

 

idontspam's picture

Officers ‘loot’ Palike in the name of felled trees

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Here is the scam that BBMP perpetrates on its citizens. The custodian of our city is destroying it to fill individual pockets. Tragedy of commons? Definitely time for civil society to clean up this nonsense. Maybe our own protest against corrupt people in BBMP is in order.

...felled trees were ‘resurrected’ six months later. According to extracts of the detailed contingent bill of BBMP available with Deccan Herald, then assistant conservator of forests and senior officials of BBMP drew large amounts of money from the Palike account.

Source

idontspam's picture

Where does the muck go?

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That reminds me... if somebody can just tell me where to dump, I will arrange my own garbage pickup truck for my street. I will get a competitive bid & we can all take care of this ourselves. Atleast that way we will feel responsible for cleaning up the muck we generate.

psaram42's picture

Where to dump

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It is million dollar question. Mavallipura site is now banned for dumping.  I wonder where they are dumping now. However if you compost your wet waste in house, dumping requirement will be drastically minimized. 

murali772's picture

holding the city to ransom

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Mayor D Venkatesh Murthy told the media on Thursday that he had written to chief minister Jagadish Shettar, requesting him to withdraw BMTF's prosecution powers. "BMTF must be there just as a police station. It should be authorized to take complaints only after obtaining the commissioner's consent, and even then, the complaint should be registered with the local police station and not the BMTF," the mayor said.

The state home department, in a notification on May 27, 1996, constituted the BMTF as a police station. Another urban development department notification of August 28, 1997, categorically stated that the BMTF is a police station to protect, detect and prosecute offenders under 12 different acts, including the KMC Act, BDA Act, BWSSB Act, Inam Abolition Act and IPC.

BMTF sources said they are at a loss to understand the backlash from BBMP employees, as the force was only carrying out its mandate.

In a letter dated September 30, 2009, then BBMP commissioner Bharat Lal Meena had said that criminal charges would be filed against joint directors and other engineers if they failed to give a report on byelaw violations happening in their jurisdiction areas.

"Despite such a circular, there have been violations in building construction everywhere and thus, complaints by the public. In his letter, Meena clearly stated that criminal charges would be taken up against engineers who fail to perform their duties and that's exactly what we are doing," said BMTF sources.

BMTF chief IGP RP Sharma says "I am only doing what I have been authorized to do. We took up investigation in 127 cases after courts asked us to do so. An assistant engineer told us during investigation that he allowed violations because of political pressure. But he never revealed any name. In BBMP, there is no rule of law, only the rule of man. BMTF has not received complaints against any MLA or corporator."


For the full report in the ToI, click here.

See here how the politicos undermine the authority of the Commissioner. In such a scenario, what is the point in bringing the BMTF under the Commissioner?

Well, very clearly, everyone associated with the BBMP is demanding his right to continue looting the citizens. In such a scenario, can the City Civil Society be just sitting and watching the goings on? Shouldn't we atleast voice our opinion? India Against Corruption may have been disbanded. But, can not the Bangalore Civil Society come together to form its own "Bangalore Against Corruption", and atleast express its opinion?

Muralidhar Rao
psaram42's picture

A state of Anarchy

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Advani him self admitted in Parliament that days of both congress and BJP are numbered. The future of our country is very bleak indeed.

murali772's picture

can't afford to give up

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@ Anantram Sahibare' - It's perhaps when Congress and BJP get outnumbered that the situation will turn around for the country.

Meanwhile, in order that we get the right kind of people to represent us in future, do you want to sign this petition, please!

Muralidhar Rao
murali772's picture

Mayor's forked tongue

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A day after BBMP officers and employees' unions withdrew their protest against the functioning of the Bangalore Metropolitan Task Force, mayor D Venkatesh Murthy said he did not support the protest that caused inconvenience to the public.

- - - Asked about corporators interfering in the BBMP's works, the mayor said, "It's their weakness if they succumb to political pressure. I admit that we corporators do tell engineers not to stop construction of poor persons' houses, especially in slums, but not anywhere else. Corporators are only public representatives and must not interfere with the work of engineers," the mayor said.


For the full report in the ToI, click here.

Poor persons in slums anyway don't bother with permissions. While not wanting to condone them, the harm caused to the city on account of their doings are miniscule compared to that caused by the massive projects, many in open violation of even basic rules. There is no way these could have come up without the backing of the neta-babu combo. So, the Mayor's statement needs to taken with more than a pinch of salt.

Sadly, the flouting of norms applies to government projects too - like the TTMC's. And, queries regarding these are never forthcoming, coutesy 'information denial commission' (check this)

Muralidhar Rao
murali772's picture

letter sent to CM

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Considering the overall mood of Prajagalu in the matter, I have mailed the following letter to the CM, with copies to Minister, UDD, Chief Secretary, as well as Principal Secretary, UDD:

Sri Jagadish Shettar
Honourable Chief Minister, Govt of Karnataka,
Bangalore

Dear Sir

Sub: retaining BMTF’s mandate and powers

The Bengaluru citizenry is deeply perturbed over the moves of your government, reported in the press, to emasculate the powers of the BMTF, as also to bring it under the BBMP Commissioner (rather than the current arrangement where it is under the jurisdiction of the Urban Development Ministry). This apparently is being done to appease the BBMP officials, who, in collusion with the Corporators, have been amassing wealth, through blatantly corrupt practices, and at very high cost to the city and citizenry, in connection with which many of them have now been charged by the BMTF.

It is extremely disconcerting, Sir, that, when the BMTF chief, Dr R P Sharma, IPS, finally takes bold to act against the violators, quite as per his mandate and as directed by the court, not only is he vilified and hounded, but also the entire city is held to ransom depriving it of even the basic civic services, by the corrupt lot, through a strike call by them, and the government is seen to be just meekly giving in.

We wish to submit, Sir, that the city Civil Society, as one of the main stakeholders in the city, cannot remain mere spectators to these goings on, and we demand that BMTF be allowed to function unfettered, as originally conceived.

We look forward to your affirmative action in that direction.

Thanking you,

Yours truly,
for RAAG (Research, Analysis, Advocacy Group - furthering on the discussions at ‘praja.in’)
sd/-
Muralidhar Rao
(President)

Muralidhar Rao
idontspam's picture

Thanks for the note Murali

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Thanks for the note Murali

PS: All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing ~Edmund Burke

srinidhi's picture

BMTF wings cut..goonda raj prevails!

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BMTF chief, R. P. Sharma, who tried to shake things up in the corporation and weed out the inefficient and corrupt, has been given the marching orders

 Striking the BMTF another blow, it downgraded its post of Assistant Director General of Police (ADGP) to Inspector General of Police (IGP), effectively withdrawing the prosecuting powers of the BMTF chief.

The new chief, who will have to work under section 492(3) of the Karnataka Municipal Corporation (KMC) Act , will not be empowered to prosecute anyone without the permission of the BBMP commissioner and the authority extended by an official order, according to sources.

more here

Shame on these people!

dvsquare's picture

I feel, we citizens should do some kind of protest

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Thanks Murali for sending the letter.

I feel, this calls for a protest from citizens as well.

Whenever citizens protest, we don't get anything, be it Anna or BRD, they are sent to jail, while bbmp workers/officials when did just protest for sometime, they got what they wanted, they got the right to continue looting the citizens without anyone monitoring them, without them having any accountability.

Can as a Praja team, and spreading to many other people across bangalore, call for a protest in front of Vidhan Sudha or some other prominent place?

Media should report that, and those corrupt should feel that we citizens understands what is going wrong and what's right.

Deepak

Bengloorappa's picture

We should definetly take out

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We should definetly take out a peaceful march to register our protest. We should let it be known that we are not going to take this lying down.

We might even get pointers on available legal remedies from Dr. R.P.Sharma himself if we ask ? - a PIL in high court on arbitrary withdrawal of powers to benefit certain section of employees of a governmental body should draw enough attention to the sorry state of affairs. Who else thinks the same way ?

dvsquare's picture

I am out this weekend, so may be next one or some weekday evenin

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I am out this weekend, already planned.

But, in case, I feel, we should mark our protest atleast once and keep our demand/state also right there in front of the govt.

Right now, a few corrupt bbmp officials went for strike, and all happened in benefit of them. This kind of thing never happened in case of we citizens, we should better protest, a peaceful one, and bring in media and civic attention.

Who all are game?

Deepak

saurabhgotyou's picture

This is very disturbing

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These engineers are Corrupt and a burden on the society, that's it. Corruption can't be more direct than this. Action was taken against them and the bastards are up against the honest Sharma. It's such a shame that the Gov.[Corrupt] again gave into their stupid wants ans didn't shoot them. How I wish Modi was here.  Such a shame on BJP in Karnataka.

- Saurabh Mehra

saurabhgotyou's picture

Shameful act from BJP Karnataka

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It gives a very wrong signal to other departments as well.

"Do wrong things and then go on strike" and force gov. to give in. They should be charged for blackmailing the gov. and causing problems/discomfort to the citizens for their own benefits.

Stupid moronic act. I feel like slapping them hard on their face and make them work properly.

I want BMTF back and especially the website. Something good started to happen and BBMP brought it down and unfortunately gov. is supporting them.

Salute to R P Sharma! Long Live Sir

- Saurabh Mehra

murali772's picture

the PIL route

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Sharma told TOI his transfer was premature. "I don't want to say whether this move is good or bad. But it's a premature transfer, and contrary to the affidavit filed in the Supreme Court by the state government, stating that DGP and IG rank police officials have a fixed tenure of two years," said Sharma.

For the full report in the ToI, click here.

Yes, if anyone wants to start a PIL, the route is perhaps quite clear from the above. But, I don't think we in RAAG by ourselves are equipped to take up such matters, as yet. If any other civil society group is planning to take it up, perhaps we can join forces with them.

LokSatta is planning a protest demo this Saturday morning. I shall announce the details through an event post.

Muralidhar Rao
Bengloorappa's picture

The 'worshipful' mayor has

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The 'worshipful' mayor has apparently questioned the need for BMTF to have introduced a website and create a transparent system to solicit complaints. It speaks volumes of his 'vision' for the city and his administrative capabilities. More details of the R.P.Sharma interview here


I pity my city for falling into the hands of a totally disfunctional, retrogressive administrative agency such as the BBMP.
To further make his attitude clearer, the 'worshipful' mayor, in an unrelated land allocation scam has sought to white-wash it by reminding everyone that it was not just he who was involved in the scam but everyone along the chain right from the sanctioning minister to the clerk who signed-off the order and also that this is not the first time that such a thing is happening - hinting that it's somehow acceptable to do it now because it has been done earlier. This is heard very often, recently from all politicians caught in the act - what a wonderful argument!

Looking forward to participate in any peaceful protests being organised on this topic.

dvsquare's picture

Loksatta has called for a

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Loksatta has called for a protest, saturday 9:30 AM

More details here - https://www.facebook.com/...

Protest Rally in protest against the BMTF chief's transfer and non-appointment of Lokayukta.

I will not be in town this weekend, so won't be able to part of it, but I will spread it among all my friends, and everyone please do so.

Deepak

murali772's picture

have recorded our protest

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Following is the text of the letter mailed out to the CM, with copies to Minister, UDD, Chief Secretary, and Principal Secretary, UDD:

We had petitioned you on the 14th instant, requesting that Dr R P Sharma, IPS, be retained as the BMTF chief, as also that his powers not be emasculated. Through the petition, we were representing the collective will of a large section of the city's Civil Society.

Much to our dismay, we now learn from news reports that you have acted quite as feared, succumbing to the vested interests, and in total disregard of our request, as also contrary to the affidavit filed in the Supreme Court by your government, stating that DGP and IG rank police officials have a fixed tenure of two years.

While placing on record our strong protest against your action, Sir, we hereby once again request you to repeal the orders forthwith, and re-instate Dr Sharma to the post, immediately.

We look forward to your affirmative action in that direction.

Muralidhar Rao
murali772's picture

Bravo, Dr Sharma!

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The Bangalore bench of Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) on Thursday stayed the August 13 order for two weeks. The order, transferring RP Sharma from the post of ADGP, BMTF, was passed by the state government. The bench has also stayed the August 14 order posting senior IPS officer P Ravindranath in Sharma's place.

- - -"I assumed charge as ADGP, BMTF, Bangalore, on January 1, 2012 and was to continue till December 31, 2013, as per the binding directions of Supreme Court in Prakash Singh case. But the transfer order was passed for extraneous reasons to appease BBMP employees who are facing trial for acts of omission and commission, and without the concurrence of the urban development department which has borrowed the services. Prior to appointment as ADGP, BMTF, I was the IGP, BMTF, and registered cases against BBMP officials including engineers who were involved in the fake bill scam of Rs 1,563 crore," Sharma stated.

- - -"I diligently and fearlessly discharged my duties without fear or favour and took steps which were unpleasant and unacceptable to several vested interests. BMTF detected various instances of land grabbing and other cognizable and non-cognizable offences. Totally about 195 cases were taken up for investigation and 20 have been chargesheeted," he has stated.


For the full report in the ToI, click here.

This is egg on the face of GoK, if it has a face to show in the first place. Shame on Sri Jagadish Shettar and his ministry!

Muralidhar Rao
psaram42's picture

Jagadish Shettar

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Shame on Sri Jagadish Shettar and his ministry! He seems to excel all previous Chief Ministers of Karnataka, in their shameful acts. Another example of Transfers [1] .

Bengloorappa's picture

Love the fighting spirit

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To highlight all is not lost in the fight between neta-babu's, the CAT's stay order for two weeks is very welcome!

In a much-needed display of fighting spirit against present day corruption, Dr. R.P. Sharma has vowed to make-up for the lost time - 

Quoting, Deccan Herald

"In the meanwhile, Sharma said that the BMTF will speed up investigation into the pending cases involving building violations - the very reason BBMP officials wanted him transferred. 

A combative Sharma seemed in no mood to slow down. He said that the five days lost due to strikes in the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike and his transfer from the BMTF, will be compensated for by intensifying the investigations he was pursuing."

I think we should do everything to express our solidarity with R.P.Sharma.
Can anyone here think of some ways we can prop him up and provide him with moral support in any which way we can ? I can think of these -

1. Gather near BMTF's office and hold placards in support of his action without causing disruption to traffic or any public inconvenience.
2. Gather near BBMP office and express solidarity with Dr. R.P.Sharma and his actions

Bengloorappa's picture

Light at the end of the tunnel ? - oh wait!

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As per this order and this post the CAT's Bangalore Bench has issued the final verdict cancelling the transfer order of BMTF's ADGP Dr. R.P. Sharma as motivated and the charges against him "trumped-up" with the only reason of keeping him away from the important task he has set out to accomplish.

In a first-of-its-kind approach the Bangalore Bench Judicial Member K.B. Suresh had undertaken a tour of Bangalore to understand the extent of violations and related corruption.
The Bangalore bench has also come down heavily on the Govt. and officials, but termed citizens as 'colludors' whose part in the process can somewhat be justified. I have problems understanding this justification of the part played by citizens in the process, but perhaps thats a seperate discussion.

However, as a setback to BMTF, the Karnataka high court has stayed proceedings against them mentioning that BMTF has no powers to initate action against these engineers.
Can someone please shed light on this judgement(The judgement is not yet available on the Karnataka High Court website, will take a while probably) ? - I was under the assumption that the whole reason why Dr. R.P. Sharma was hounded and why the state government was up in arms is that BMTF was formed to intiate action agaisnt erring officials and was constituted as a "Police Station" under the KMC act and as a seperate body independent of the BBMP/erstwhile BMP.

murali772's picture

we did our bit

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And what were the people doing? People should have supported Mr Sharma and the Task Force in this. I think they(people) did not rise up to the occasion.

The above is the quote from Justice Santosh Hegde in his interview, published in Citizen Matters. For the full text of the interview, click here.

Well, atleast we can claim to have done our bit - check my post of 14th Aug, above.

Muralidhar Rao
idontspam's picture

Old wine, new bottle

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The bigger culprits in this mess are garbage contractors who indulge in unbridled malpractices, a recent report by urban governance watchdog, the BMTF, has revealed.

With BBMP finalizing the bids for new garbage management tenders on Saturday, one would expect that the same lot of contractors will not figure in the list. On the contrary, BBMP sources have confirmed that the same set of contractors is in the race here too.

source

murali772's picture

democracy at work?

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“The water body comes under the Lake Development Authority and there is forest land adjacent to it. We could save the lake and land from the encroachers,” said BMTF chief R P Sharma. The value of land reclaimed was put at Rs 120 crore. Sources in the revenue department said bigwigs, including a local gram panchayat member, were involved in the encroachment. “We are investigating and questioning the lorry driver to find out who’s involved in the encroachment and sand filtering unit,” said Sharma. - - - Sharma added that they registered 194 cases this year, of which 44 have resulted in chargesheets, 67 are in the courts and the remaining 149 are under investigation. - - - Sources in the BBMP said there is no move to withdraw the BMTF’s police powers as that would adversely affect the image of the government, which is still grappling with the garbage issue. “The withdrawal of police powers and status of a police station for BMTF is very sensitive as it may result in a public outcry,” said a senior civic official, when asked about plans to remove the powers vested with BMTF, on condition of anonymity. BBMP officials said there is a move to shift the BMTF office from the BBMP headquarters to a more spacious building and induct more staff to tackle the burgeoning number of cases involving the high-and-mighty.

For the full report in the ToI, click here.

Well, we contributed to the public outcry, and if it is making an impact, as the report seems to suggest and which is as it should be, perhaps, we need to speak out louder. For whatever it is worth, I'll send out another round of mails to all officials concerned.

Muralidhar Rao
psaram42's picture

panel to clip BMTF's wings

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With the Bangalore Metropolitan Task Force (BMTF) booking cases against the likes of home minister R Ashoka, law minister Suresh Kumar and health minister Arvind Limbavali, it was only a matter of time before the BJP state government clipped the task force’s wings. As a precursor, the Shettar government has formed a committee, headed by retired IAS officer A Ravindra, to “rethink” powers vested with BMTF and submit a report in two months. 

For the full Bangalore Mirror report click here.

BMTF chief R P Sharma was transferred after BBMP engineers protested against him. But he went to court and got a stay on the transfer

murali772's picture

beacon of hope

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With the Bangalore Metropolitan Task Force (BMTF) booking a string of cases and registering FIRs (first information reports) against senior politicians and bureaucrats, efforts are believed to be under way to dilute the powers of its chief R.P. Sharma, an IPS officer. Informed sources told The Hindu that hectic parleys are being held in this regard after the BMTF registered cases against Deputy Chief Minister and Home Minister R. Ashok, Minister for Law and Parliamentary Affairs S. Suresh Kumar, Minister for Health Aravind Limbavali, the former Housing Minister S.N. Krishnaiah Setty and senior bureaucrats. - - - Sources in the BMTF said that despite all this hectic behind-the-scenes orchestrations, Mr. Sharma will continue to head the BMTF till December 13, 2013, which is as per the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) judgment. The judgment has also mentioned that the government could extend Mr. Sharma’s tenure if need be. In other words, Mr. Sharma would be the BMTF chief till the completion of his two-year tenure as per the CAT order and any attempt of alteration is subjugation of judicial order and amounts to contempt, sources said.

For the full report in "The Hindu", click here.

Mr Sharma, one would like to believe, is senior enough an officer to understand the implications of his actions, and for all that if he has gone ahead with them, they can't all be without sufficient basis. The politicos have been getting away with all kinds of shenanigans all these years, so much so, they have kind of come to believe it is their birth-right to carry-on in their ways. So, when a tough cop comes along to haul them up, using the authority available to him, perhaps buoyed by the changed mood in the country, they seem to be running helter-skelter.

In the one one more year tenure that he has ensured for himself in this office, through the CAT order, if he goes about in this fashion, perhaps a lot of cleaning up can happen. And, emboldened by his example, if more and more bureucrats begin to play the game strictly by the rules, hopefully, we could see the original meaning of the word 'governance' get restored in our lifetime.

Mr Sharma is going to be another nominee of mine for the Namma Bengaluru award

Muralidhar Rao
murali772's picture

let's demand permanency for BMTF

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The Bangalore Metropolitan Task Force (BMTF), constituted to detect irregularities in the governance of the state capital, seems to be in dire straits. For the government order which gave this watchdog the status of a police station on September 2, 2002 is set to lapse on March 31, 2013.

Given the fear it evokes among the political class and officials involved in administering Bangalore over the past year, the state government may not be keen to give it a fresh lease of life. The tremors touched off by the proactive BMTF resulted in the government moving out its incumbent boss, Additional Director General of Police RP Sharma. The IPS officer went to court and returned to the post. The government order placed the BMTF on a par with the CID and the Lokayukta.

Among the big guns who faced BMTF inquiries in various irregularities are home minister R Ashoka, health minister Aravind Limbavali, parliamentary affairs minister S Suresh Kumar and mayor D Venkatesh Murthy.

The BMTF remained dormant for most its existence before kicking into life in 2012. Last year, BMTF, in a significant shift in strategy, invited complaints from the public on deviations in building plans. This opened the flood gates. "In the past year alone, we booked 208 cases while in the 16 years since formation, it booked only 15-16 cases," Sharma said.

In 2012, BMTF received 642 petitions, disposed of 422 cases and 220 cases are pending inquiry. It arrested 62 persons, summoned 310 people and interrogated over 200 people in various cases.


For the full report in the ToI, click here.

Perhaps, the Civil Society should jointly petition the government to not only give the BMTF a permanent status, but also to facilitate its efficient working.

Muralidhar Rao
murali772's picture

memorandum sent to CM

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Letter as below mailed to the CM, with copies to CS, ACS, and Principal Sec Home (the original hard copy will be sent by regd post today):

Sri Jagadish Shettar
Honourable Chief Minister, Govt of Karnataka,
Bangalore

Dear Sir

Sub: permanency for BMTF

The Bengaluru citizenry has been observing with great appreciation the working of the BMTF ever since ADGP, Dr R P Sharma, IPS, took charge of the organisation. For the first time in its history, the organisation had begun carrying out its mandate diligently, providing some hope to the citizenry of the restoration of a semblance of governance of the city.

Of particular significance is its move to invite complaints from public on building plan violations, zonal law violations, government land encroachments, and general misuse of powers by various government departments, all of which have been responsible for the haphazard growth of the city. We, from the Civil Society, believe that if the city has to grow in a sustainable way, it is imperative that BMTF continues to function the way it has started functioning recently.


On the other hand, Sir, we hear that the BMTF's term, which is supposed to be ending as on March 31, this year, may not be extended, because of pressures from certain quarters harboring vested interests.

We, from the Civil Society, request you, Sir, not to heed to such pressures, but instead to give permanence to the BMTF, as also to strengthen its working.

We look forward to your affirmative action in that direction.

Thanking you,

Yours truly,
for PRAJA-RAAG,
sd/-
President

It will be good if all the other Civil Society groups in the city can also follow suit, making whatever changes they may wish to make. If the CM receives say a hundred such letters, he will have little option other than to take note of them. This can perhaps be followed up with the Civil Society joining together, say under the CAF banner, and submitting a memorandum, physically.

Muralidhar Rao
murali772's picture

twists and turns

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Ever since the BMTF started functioning more actively, especially after current chief Rajvir Sharma took over, the state government has been at loggerheads with it. Its latest attempt to cut down BMTF's powers has gone awry, and has become another embarrassment for the government. - - - - Mr Sharma says that a state government cannot override a central law, and hence cannot cut down powers. "The only way government can reduce BMTF's powers would be to shut it down completely. Government can shut down BMTF or Lokayukta - but it is unlikely to do this as they will lose face," he says. The officer is frazzled about BMTF having to deal with interruptions, but for now, there is no worry about losing powers.

For the full report in Citizen Matters, click here.

Government's "fear of losing face" is the main weapon the Civil Society has needs in its role as the watchdog. From our side, we have sent repeat memo's to the CM, not just to retain BMTF's powers, but to strengthen it further. Hopefully other Civil Society groups have done the same too.

An earlier ToI report (full text may be accessed here) had, iter-alia, stated as below:

ADGP RP Sharma said that a request has been sent to the state government for merging all three task forces that are in operation. "We have been requesting the government on this aspect. A letter has been sent to convene a meeting of all officials from urban development department, revenue department and BDA. This will help consider the possibility of amalgamating three task forces into a single unit and achieve goals of protection of government lands for which the Karnataka government has strived," he said.

Perhaps, we should be sending one more letter to this effect too.

Muralidhar Rao
Bengloorappa's picture

BMTF likely to be a closed chapter

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If this report is any indication, seems like BMTF will be shuttered soon and the CM would want it to be as low-key as possible. http://www.deccanherald.c...

The question now is - should this be taken lying down or should we start planning to do something about it before it is too late.

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