Bangalore: The BBMP Commissioner’s job seems to be a tightrope walk, which few IAS officers have successfully completed. M K Shankaralinge Gowda’s sudden exit in the middle of a crisis is the latest example. The government maintained that Gowda was transferred at his request and it had nothing to do with the ongoing garbage mess. But IAS officers with a stint in the BBMP see it as the government’s time-tested tactic — to make the commissioner the scapegoat.
Not surprisingly, none of the recent chiefs lasted long. Gowda, for instance, lasted for just nine months. "This is nothing new. Whenever there is public ire against the BBMP, the government resorts to such transfers. This is only to show that it is doing something and nothing else,” says former Bangalore Mahanagara Palike commissioner S Subramanya.
There are several systemic problems like a lack of coordination among BBMP wings, contractor-officers nexus, corruption, political interference and lobbies. “Unless the government addresses these problems, no commissioner, no matter how capable he is, can do anything,” says a retired IAS officer.
A Ravindra, another former BBMP chief, stresses the need for administrative reforms. “There is a proposal to enact a separate law to govern Bangalore city that confirms fixed and longer tenures for the mayor and commissioner. If such a law comes into force, then most of BBMP’s problems will be addressed,” says Ravindra, who is now adviser on urban affairs to the CM.