HC lambasts City civic body

HC lambasts City civic body

The High Court took the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) to task on Wednesday in connection with PILs on clearing encroachments on footpaths and another seeking action against officials for the death of a six-year-old girl who drowned in an overflowing drain at Bannerghatta Road.

It was an embarrassing day for BBMP Commissioner M Lakshminarayana who got a dressing down from the division bench comprising Chief Justice D H Waghela and Justice R B Budhihal.

The bench criticised him for failing to act against officials who have not implemented the July 23 order to clear encroachments on footpaths.

The petitioners submitted that encroachments have not been cleared and even pointed to some of them.

The bench asked Lakshminarayana, “Have you been abroad.” When Lakshminarayana said he has visited Europe, the chief justice said: “Have you seen any roads in Europe with similar conditions as that of Bangalore roads? Are your officials blind? Can’t they see the state of the footpaths in the City?”

When the commissioner submitted that he will improve conditions by appointing a special officer to clear footpath encroachments, the bench directed him to supervise the work.
The bench told the BBMP to furnish details of encroachments cleared and file a status report along with photographs. “Photos taken on day-to-day basis on clearance of encroachment be filed along with the comprehensive report,” the bench observed.

Counsel for the petitioner, Ajesh Kumar, pointed out that neither a survey of hawkers had been conducted nor a town vending committee to provide licence to hawkers been constituted. When the petitioner submitted that the commissioner’s “term is short and is vested with limited powers and he can also be removed and therefore he feels insecure” the bench said: “Don’t you have courage to act against officers or are you under pressure from politicians?”

Citing the example of an officer in Surat who cleared encroachments overnight and when he was transferred due to political pressure, the people protested and prevented his transfer, the chief justice said, “You should earn a good name by your work and be a role model.”

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