Govt plans to appoint KPCC secretary BWSSB chairman, draws criticism

A 'break with tradition', says BJP

The State government is all set to appoint a political leader the chairman of Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB).

C H Chinnaswamy, presently secretary in the Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC), has been picked by the chief minister to be the chairman of the BWSSB. Chinnaswamy is said to be a close relative of Congress leader and two-time Andhra Pradesh chief minister, the late Kotla Vijaya Bhaskara Reddy.

Chinnaswamy is said to be an engineer and industrialist by profession. In the last few years, he is believed to have been persistently seeking a ticket to contest elections to Assembly or Council. While the KPCC could not field him in the elections, Chinnaswamy has now been nominated to the BWSSB as chairman. But the BJP’s Rajajinagar MLA and former minister for BWSSB, S Suresh Kumar, suggested that the political appointment to the board was a “break with tradition.”

“Since 1964, when the BWSSB Act came into force, there has been no political appointment to the post. Since its inception, either a person from the administrative cadre (IAS) or a former BWSSB chief engineer has been appointed the chairman,” he said. “The Congress government is setting a new precedence that will be detrimental to the board’s functioning and officiating. Can we expect the BWSSB engineers to abide by the decision of a political appointee?”

The BWSSB Act, 1964, states that one of the seven members appointed to the BWSSB board, who has experience of, and has shown capacity in, commercial matters and administration or with wide experience of civil engineering works, preferably in the field of public health engineering with reference to water supply, sewerage and sewage disposal and industrial wastes or who has experience of accounting and financial matters in a public utility undertaking, preferably a water supply or sewage disposal undertaking, shall be appointed by the State government to be the chairman of the board.

It is unclear whether Chinnaswamy meets any of these criteria. The BJP leader has now sent letters and spoken to the Bengaluru district in-charge minister Ramalinga Reddy, Chief Secretary Kaushik Mukherjee and other ministers from Bengaluru to impress upon them the danger of appointing a politician to the BWSSB. Sources in the administration said that previous State governments had tried to make a political appointment to the BWSSB but backed off later.

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