'Will push for IoT in Bengaluru governance'

interview

Dr Ashwath Narayan C N

Deputy Chief Minister C N Ashwath Narayan is a first-time minister, but  a four-time legislator from Malleswaram and has strong views on Bengaluru and the problems faced by the city. In a chat with Bharath Joshi of DH, Narayan tackles questions on the city, higher education and politics. Edited excerpts: 

Bengaluru’s ecosystem may be right, but its infrastructure is a concern for the IT sector, especially the traffic. 

There are some projects already proposed that have to be implemented. If that’s done, most of the concerns around public transport and congestion will be addressed. Besides, elevated corridors, suburban rail, buses, metro and Peripheral Ring Road, we need a better parking policy. 

There have been calls to impose a congestion tax to deter use of private vehicles.

First, we should provide the infrastructure. If people are still going for private vehicles, then we need to go for such measures. 

As a Bengaluru MLA, what does the city need to be governed better? 

Internet-of-Things (IoT) should be brought in. Currently, IoT is confined to niche areas. But it should be integrated at all levels - water supply, street lights, CCTV, waste management. It’ll make things simpler and people don’t have to run around. Any lapses will show on a dashboard. It’s my dream to implement IoT in my constituency. But the problem is with the (civic) agencies and I can’t do it in silos if they aren’t on board. We’re trying to impress upon agencies to go in this direction. They should be sensitised. Bengaluru is known as an IT city providing solutions to the world, but we should provide solutions to ourselves first. 

Why is coordination between agencies such a difficult task to achieve?  

I don’t know how to put it across. There’s one platform called Road History where coordination among all agencies - Bescom, BWSSB, BBMP etc - can be established easily without hassles. But some people are trying to scuttle the implementation of this. I don’t know who has what interests. Some administrators and commissioners have avoided implementation. If that’s done, inflows and outflows of revenues will be regulated. And redundancy of works can be prevented. Everything will be available in one place, like which agency is doing what work. If I’m planning a road work, the BWSSB can look at whether it has planned any of its work there. Thereby, agencies won’t have to hold meetings. In fact, we can plan development works a year ahead. I’ve always been pushing for this so that our credibility improves. This is the best I can do for the city. 

On higher education, are public universities losing out against private ones? 

As a minister, I can’t discriminate universities as public or private. But public universities reflect government performance. So, they need to do well. We will strengthen them by mobilising resources and see that public universities maintain standards.

Your elevation as the DyCM is seen as an effort to groom you as the second rung of party leadership. 

The party has given me a responsibility to discharge and it’s more than just a position. Our assessment will be based on how effectively we discharge our responsibility. We need to perform and work, without expecting more. I need to prove worthy of what I’ve been tasked to do. 

Given the circumstances in which the BJP came to power, will the government last long enough? 

Definitely. The earlier government was a coalition, a combination of two different thoughts. Most programmes went against each other’s priorities. We were the single largest party and BJP has been doing well across the country. We’re correcting mistakes of the past and giving good governance through structural reforms. Take water conservation, Swachh Bharat, national security, education...we’re working on 360 degrees. Everybody will be happy to be part of the BJP, because BJP means stability and a better future. So there’s no question of instability. 

Will the arrest of Congress leader D K Shivakumar antagonise the Vokkaliga community, to which you belong, which could work against the BJP? 

The community stands for all things good. not the bad. If you don’t have good leaders and a good government, how can you serve them? Whatever is happening is under the scrutiny of law. He has to pass through by proving if he’s right or wrong. Why should we attach so much importance by bringing a community into this because of one person?

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