Mangaluru, April 27, 2015: Early January this year, everyone in Mangaluru City Corporation, right from the Mayor to corporators and officials had heaved a sigh of relief when the State Government appointed Hephsiba Rani Korlapati, a 2011 batch IAS officer as the City Corporation Commissioner.
And of course they had a reason to be pleased with her appointment- the post was lying vacant for the previous six months since her appointment. The absence of a full time commissioner at MCC had even become a sparring point for ruling Congress and opposition BJP. The complaint of the Corporators then was that it had crippled development works and hit regular decision making. In fact the transfer of the previous Commissioner Ajith Kumar Hegde Shanadi reportedly owing to a tussle within party leaders had resulted in a deadlock and Prasanna Kumar, the officer appointed in his place had to return without taking charge. Though in developments later on the government succumbing to pressure from corporators who were hell bent upon having Shanadi back had agreed to his reinstatement, that never happened and the Corporation was deprived of a Commissioner for six long months.
But, now things seem to be taking a different turn that too within over three months of the new Commissioner taking charge. The Corporators who were earlier pressing for the appointment of a Commissioner now want the transfer of the new Commissioner. The reason - the Commissioner is quite strict and wants to adhere to the rule book. So, where lies the problem? Doesn’t our corporators whom we have elected want a sincere and honest officer?
If developments of late are any indication, the answer to this question has to be in the affirmative. Already reports indicated that the Corporators were visibly displeased with the style of functioning of Korlapati. Their grouse – the Commissioner’s tough stance of sticking to the rule book of the Karnataka Municipalities Act 1964. Some even complained that the Commissioner does not want to know the problems put forth by Corporators citing complex rules and delays giving approval for some urgent civic works. Well, is that the only grouse? May be there is much to be read between the lines here.
In the meantime, MLA JR Lobo has been pragmatic while dealing with the issue and has said the MCC cannot once again knock at the doors of the Government seeking a new Commissioner.
But there is a big question here-Why is all the noise created over a non-issue by the Corporators? Is it that she delays approval of immediate civic works or is there some other reason? To say the truth the city corporators have practically never put up a united front for any cause, be it the long standing demand for a bus terminus in Mangaluru, the development of the Central market, fish market and also the demand for a Ranga Mandir. But in the case of demanding the transfer of the Commissioner, they have surprisingly remained united.
What does this signify? Have the councillors ever put up a united front to demand footpaths to many city roads which lack the same and some which have bad footpaths with gaping holes that pose perennial threat? Is it enough if roads are widened and concretised for the benefit of the motorists and the commercial complexes that have come up on either sides of the prominent roads, while leaving the poor pedestrian desperate in the absence of footpaths?
The city now has a new Mayor in Jacintha Vijay Alfred. Being a senior corporator she is well aware of the problems of this port city. Now, that the corporators have been raising a clamour for the transfer of the Commissioner, it is her duty to convince them against such moves which would once again hamper the developmental works in the city. Does the Corporators want this to happen when they have the onerous responsibility of fulfilling the needs and aspirations of people of their respective wards who have elected them with great hopes?
It is high time the Corporators understand their duties and responsibilities and their commitment towards the citizens of Mangaluru before making such unwelcome demands at the cost of the development of the city. The city needs the services of strict, honest and sincere officers to bring it on the developmental track.