Mukherjee bats for Bangalore infra

Improving governance at field level tops new chief secretary's agenda

Mukherjee bats for Bangalore infra

Senior IAS officer Kaushik Mukherjee who is all set to take over as the next chief secretary states that his primary objective is to improve  governance at the field level.

Having risen through the ranks in the last 35 years, he is presently additional chief secretary to the government. He has BTech in electrical from IIT, Delhi and a Masters degree in the same discipline from State University of New York. The West Bengal native belongs to the Karnataka cadre of IAS officers and speaks fluent Kannada.

Unlike many bureaucrats, Mukherjee has decided not to wear suits even after occupying the top post. In fact, he has taken permission from the chief minister in this regard. This, he says, will help in ‘blending’ with society. Mukherjee shared his perspective on varied issues during an interaction with Sandeep Moudgal of Deccan Herald. The excerpts from the interview...

DH: The immediate challenges before you?

KM: Apart from ensuring that the money we spend goes to the grassroot level, I will also be focussing on improving the status of Bangalore.

Your take on what is lacking in Karnataka...

There is a huge gap in the infrastructure capacity compared to the population growth of Bangalore City. We will be looking at increasing the infrastructure facility without causing any detrimental effect on the rural population, who will continue to be our priority.

Your plans for Bangalore...

There needs to be a policy for the planned development of Bangalore and, not persist with the present haphazard growth of the City. For example, the BDA has not developed a layout in many years.  There needs to be a better co-ordination among the civic agencies like BDA, BWSSB, BBMP and BMRDA.

On enviornment, wildlife and development...

 I love tigers as they represent the health of the forests. When forests in the Western Ghats soak up the rain then there will be a perennial flow of water. So our survival depends upon the survival of the forests. But, at the same time we need development. There is always an optimum solution where we can have both environment and development.

On mining in forest areas...

The mining scam took place only in Bellary, that too in Sandur area which is a speck on the map. To the credit of the government, action has been taken in arresting illegal mining. It has not overflowed on to the entire forest area.

On industries moving away...

Most major players like Posco have moved away not because of land unavailability, but because of no mining licences. Industries want to come to the State with a vested interest in our natural reserves. With the Supreme Court putting a cap of 30 million tonnes, it has raised concerns. But I believe that we can sustain with the cap on mining. There is provision in the Forest rules and regulations to give some forest areas for mining, like the degraded forest regions.

On law and order and communal tension...

The law and order is perfectly ok and is far better than any in other states. If any vested interests try to create communal tension, we will come down heavily on them.

On two years being a short tenure...

Some decisions can be taken in months, others will take time. There are officers who have got 35 years of experience and there are those who have got one year experience 35 times. It is going to be a learning curve for me.

Message to your colleagues and juniors...

Work hard and do the ‘dirty’ (meaning difficult) things first. Do not sit in five-star hotels, attending seminars and lectures as the be all and end all. Mingle with people. Also, visit the nearest crematorium to understand there is only one life and that needs to be made the best use of.

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