Govt step follows HC’s criticism of civic body for failing to identify and reach out to needy persons
Following the Karnataka High Court’s criticism of BBMP for its failure to supply food kits to the needy in containment zones in the city, the state government is all set to appoint former BBMP Commissioner G Kumar Naik (currently Principal Secretary of the Social Welfare Department) to supervise and implement government orders on food kits for the needy.
During a recent hearing, an HC bench directed the Urban Development Department’s Additional Chief Secretary Rakesh Singh to appear in person as the BBMP Commissioner had failed to implement the government circular of April 17 on management of containment zones and supply of rations to the needy.
In the last couple of days, Bengaluru has seen a huge surge in positive cases, in the process taking the number of containment zones to 5,598.
A source said, “It is not disputed that there are containment zones comprising slum areas where needy persons reside. No concrete action has been taken by BBMP to comply with the April 17 and April 19 circulars. BBMP has not stated what efforts have been made to identify needy persons in containment zones for the purpose of distributing food kits to them.”
An IAS officer who is closely monitoring the developments said, “There must be earnest efforts to comply with the circular dated April 17. None of the affidavits filed by BBMP shows that there is any desire to comply with the circular. No figures have been placed on record to show the number of needy persons within containment zones. Further, neither has BBMP indicated that there are strict restrictions on movement within containment zones.”
Govt can dissolve BBMP
Sources say that if the government’s April 17 circular is read as an order, BBMP could stand to be dissolved under Section 99 of the KMC Act. The section, inter alia, says that if in the opinion of the government a corporation is not competent to perform or makes default in the performance of any duty imposed on it or undertaken by it, the government may dissolve the corporation.
However, the government has chosen to appoint senior IAS officer G Kumar Naik, who in the past has served as BBMP Commissioner, to oversee the management of the city’s containment zones.
“No helpline has been created to help needy persons within containment zones. BBMP is obliged to deliver rations at the doorstep of the needy. Officials are now hoping that under Naik’s supervision BBMP will do the needful,” said a source close to the Chief Minister.
According to a source, Naik will need to identify the genuinely needy persons so that the provision of free rations is not misused. He will also have to ensure that the SOPs pertaining to containment zones are complied with by BBMP. He will also have to prepare a report on the steps taken by BBMP and can delegate the task to a subordinate officer.