Corporators target Commissioner during council meeting

Corporators target Commissioner during council meeting

No doubt about integrity, but only about his inability: BJP members

Council meeting of Mysuru City Corporation (MCC) held here on Thursday, witnessed pandemonium with a section of corporators targetting MCC Commissioner, C G Betsurmath for failing to respond to the grievances of the public.

Despite requests by Mayor R Lingappa to maintain calm, BJP corporator Nandish Preetham, along with other members of BJP stormed into the well of the house and staged a protest. With MLA Vasu failing to convince the corporators from withdrawing the protest, the meeting was adjourned to a later date by the Mayor.

Allegation

While several corporators had taken turns to criticise Betsurmath for failing to address the concerns of the public, the situation escalated after Nandish addressed the council. He said that the Commissioner was “irresponsible” and questioned his contribution to MCC. “I am not questioning your integrity, but your inability (to take up works),” he said.

Mayor Lingappa tried to intervene by asking the corporator to be careful with the use of words, as abusing officials during a council meeting is prohibited. Nandish, however, continued his tirade against the Commissioner, demanding him to get himself transferred elsewhere, if he could not discharge his duties. He also alleged that the Commissioner was not consulting the Mayor, with regard to the decisions of the Corporation.

He stormed into the well of the house and raised slogans against Betsurmath. He was soon joined by other members of the BJP. His attempts to draw support from JD(S) corporators however did not bear fruit.

Vasu, meanwhile, tried to placate the corporators, by saying that the outburst was a result of the public wrath corporators have to bear due to a lack of developmental activities.

However, he objected to the tone and tenor of Nandish. “If any officer has to be questioned by the Council, it has to be taken along a proper channel, as the Council has the right to act against erring officials,” he said.

However, the protesting corporators refused to budge, forcing the mayor to adjourn the meeting.

After the adjournment of the meeting, several corporators directed their ire at Nandish for stalling the meeting, with JD(S) corporator Sandesh Swamy picking up a brawl with the former at the floor of the house. While Nandish criticised Sandesh for not joining in on the protest, the latter argued that his remarks against the Commissioner, went against the norms of the council

Betsurmath, who was visibly angered by the outburst following the adjournment, demanded the members to prove the allegations against him. 

‘Legal action’

Following the outburst of the BJP corporators during the council meet, Betsurmath convened a press conference and denied the allegations against him. He said that this was the consequence of his efforts to streamline the administration.

He said that all the allegations levelled against him were baseless, and suspected that some officials could also have fuelled the “planned” outburst at the council. He said that he would report the episode to the government and would also explore initiating legal action against corporator Nandish, for his remarks at the council.

“Statements made by the corporator were abusive and insulting. Even though I could have walked out during the meeting, I decided against it to uphold the dignity of the council,” he said.

Shedding light on the state of affairs at the Corporation, he said that lethargy of few officials along with shortage of key staff had hindered works. “Yet, all necessary works are being taken up,” he said. He said that several files of works taken up by the Corporation had not been maintained, and that the projects were being proposed without proper estimates, resulting in shoddy works.

“However, since assuming charge as Commissioner, attempts have been made to rectify the shortcomings. Moreover, an enquiry by the State government regarding the use of funds by MCC, has also helped in reforming some officials,” he said. Few officials, who might have been irked with the reforms, might have motivated the corporator to launch an attack at the council, he said.

He said that he might have also been targeted, for not “bending” to the whims of the corporators, in connection to the payment of pending bills for various works taken up in the past four years.

On whether there were disagreements with him and Nandish, Betsurmath said that Nandish had objected his routine inspection visit to the ward of the corporator. “He had questioned how I had visited the ward without informing him. However, the Commissioner has the right to visit any ward at any time of his liking,” he said.

He said that there had been political pressure against his appointment as Commissioner. “I am ready to resign if the State government wants me to. Till then, I will continue with the stern measures to streamline administration,” he said.

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