The Karnataka Development Programme (KDP) review meeting chaired by district in-charge secretary N. Jayaram here on Thursday turned out to be a tongue-lashing session with the senior IAS officer castigating the officials for ‘’dereliction of duty’’.
As the senior official began the review of financial and physical progress of various departments implementing government programmes, he was incensed with poor progress, lack of convincing replies and inadequate preparations by the officials.
At one stage the Zilla Panchayat CEO, K.M. Gayatri, was directed to prepare a show cause and suspension notice to the officials of the Panchayat Raj Engineering Department (PRED) for their failure to comply with the earlier instructions of not keeping bills pending. It transpired that not a single bill had been cleared for 2022-23 and nor was there satisfactory progress pertaining to building of new classrooms.
On further interrogation of the officials it transpired that the projects received administrative nod in August, the plans were approved in September but the works commenced only in December. Mr. Jayaram said such lethargic attitude was intolerable and wanted the* PRED officials concerned to be suspended.
‘’In the absence of an elected body the Zilla Panchayat has become a law unto itself and officials have developed apathy and lack discipline. Absence of elected body is being misused. This lack of discipline among senior officials has percolated to officers lower down the hierarchy’’, said Mr. Jayaram and expressed his displeasure at the pace with which works were being implemented. ‘’Nobody has the kind of freedom that officials of the zilla panchayat enjoy’’, he added.
On the implementation of State projects by the Department of Agriculture, Mr. Jayaram took exception to the lack of adequate progress in the implementation by way of reaching out to more number of beneficiaries.
He cited from the statistics prepared by the Joint Director, Chandrashekar, and remarked that the progress was not even 50 per cent, adding it displayed a lack of seriousness on the part of officials.
The subordinate officials tried to explain that the figures were yet to be updated and Mr. Jayaram rebuked and snapped at them saying they were ‘’simply trying to pass time’’ instead of furnishing details.
The officials of the Department of Public Instruction were also in the firing line and the joint director was absent in view of a court case. This infuriated Mr.Jayaram who switched to the subject and asked the official to provide the SSLC pass percentage of government schools.
The official drew a blank and was directed to procure the information over phone ‘’within 10 minutes’’ and provide the details.
On the implementation of Viveka Scheme which entails building new classrooms for government schools, Mr. Jayaram sought to know the works completed. He was told that 272 classrooms were approved at a cost of ₹14.65 crore, work on 148 had commenced while 124 works were yet to commence. A few minutes of interrogation resulted in the hapless officials fumbling for answers and Mr.Jayaram directed the CEO to prepare the suspension notice.
Mysuru DC K.V. Rajendra, Regional Commissioner B.G. Prakash and others were present.