'Court-martialling whistle-blower a deathly blow'

Dubbing the meeting as a “kangaroo court,” Kumar felt the instance had dented the BBMP image further in the public eye. 

“I learnt about the court martial kind of treatment given to one of the engineers at the meeting, which endangers the morale of the bureaucracy. There is more hatred than trust at the BBMP council meetings, which is very unfortunate. Although it is difficult, the elected representatives must seriously think about their public image, try to repair the damage and evolve themselves,” he says.

The scam itself has left the citizens crying foul. Battling the Palike for years to make Bangalore a better place to live in, the citizens appear to have totally lost faith in its system of governance.  There is no transparency and accountability in the projects handled by BBMP, notes N Mukund Rao, member of the Jayanagar Vth block Residents’ Welfare Association.

“BBMP does not give a clear picture about its projects. The JnNURM funds are wasted and there is absolutely no monitoring done on the spending of public money. Its websites are not updated and citizens are absolutely clueless about the status of infrastructure projects taken up by the Palike,” he points out.

Kathyayini Chamraj, Executive Trustee for CIVIC Bangalore, terms the entire fake bills scam ‘shameful’. She says it is very unfortunate that the corporators targeted the person who exposed the scam. “It is the same even with former chief minister B S Yeddyurappa, who instead of fighting his case, talks about why he is being targeted and the political conspiracy against him. The corporators are behaving similarly, instead of facing the inquiry,” she says.

The scam and the targeting of the whistle-blower have destroyed the public trust in the elected representatives and the Palike, feels Satya Shankaran, founder-member of Praja.
“BBMP should stop showing cooked up details on the website and should bring in transparency through technology. Such episodes only result in the public losing faith. They will harbour second thoughts about paying taxes as they will feel their money is only getting wasted,” he cautions.

Meenakshi Bharath of the Malleswaram Swabhimana Trust says the BBMP, in the first place, does not have much in its budget. With whatever little they have, there has been large-scale mis-handling. “The fake bill scam must ideally be investigated by Lokayukta. But we need to first appoint a corruption-free Lokayukta,” she adds.

Dr Meenakshi Bharath, activist:

On the one hand, BBMP is suffering from money crunch, and on the other, there is a scam of this magnitude. If the political class is convinced that there is no truth in the allegations, they should have the guts to let them be probed.

ShankarAlinge Gowda, BBMP Commissioner:

You see it (fire incident) as a conspiracy but I don’t. How do you call it a conspiracy when no file pertaining to the fake bills scam was burnt?
 

Satya Shankaran, founder-member, Praja:

It was shameful to see such an act (whistle-blower N Devaraj being targeted) in the BBMP Council. BBMP should adopt technology and update each and every detail of projects in the website to bring transparency in governance.




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