Toothless Palike easy grazing ground for PWD engineers

Toothless Palike easy grazing ground for PWD engineers

Toothless Palike easy grazing ground for PWD engineers

A month after submitting the report, PWD sent a note to the Palike that the inquiry report had many loopholes and the charges were not substantiated with enough evidence. The State government has demanded more documentary evidence to prove the charges. The engineers who ‘robbed’ the cash-strapped Palike of Rs five crore have the last laugh, while those recruited by BBMP are in soup as all of them are under suspension.

“If no charges are framed in three years, these engineers will go scot-free,” said a senior Palike officer.

A safe haven
In fact, BBMP has become a safe haven for corrupt PWD engineers to loot, while the Palike authorities have no option but to look towards the government to initiate action against them.

The BBMP finds itself in a helpless position to initiate action against the engineers who come on deputation. As per rules, the Palike cannot suspend those holding the posts of assistant executive engineers and above. At the most, it can recommend to the State government to order departmental inquiry and suspend ‘tainted’ officers. The Palike is short-staffed to such an extent that it has to get PWD engineers on deputation. There is a penchant among PWD engineers to get posted in the BBMP, given the fact that the Palike is toothless to act against them in case of impropriety.

Documents with Deccan Herald show that in the last 10 years, action was sought against 71 PWD engineers, out of whom only seven have been suspended. The rest have virtually gone scot-free.

“We won’t say there is no progress. There are correspondences going on with the government for action. Let’s see when the action is taken,” said a Palike officer.
A few Palike officials, seeking anonymity, said 17 cases were of grave nature in which public money was literally looted. But action was taken only in seven cases. “We have no idea whether these seven cases reached their logical end,” the officer said.

‘Do homework’
Additional Chief Secretary of the Urban Development Department, K M Shivakumar, who was once the administrator of the Palike, held the civic body responsible for engineers escaping action. “The BBMP officers don’t do the homework properly. They come with half-baked documents and seek action against engineers. There could be vested interests also,” said Shivakumar.

The official said the cases should be specific and supported by sufficient documents. “The government is duty-bound to take action and it is not turning down recommendations. But it cannot go about taking action blindly. We ask for sufficient documents to substantiate the charges so that a strong case is built. It should not be so that, after three years the erring engineer gets away without action,” said Shivakumar.