Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Fighting floods, inviting funds

B S Yeddyurappa, the first BJP chief minister in south India, will complete two years in the office on May 30. busy organising the much hyped Global Investors’ Meet to be held in June, he claims it would throw open new avenues of development in the state. Some would agree, others not. B S NarayanaSwamy grills the CM on issues political and social exclusively for TSI

You’ve been in office for two years. Are you satisfied with the work done by your government so far?

A person should not be satisfied with the results at any point. Because once you are satisfied, you are likely to stop working hard. We have done a lot of work in the last two years, but a lot more remains to be done in the coming years.

Your government is going to spend hundreds of crores of rupees on the two-day Global Investors Meet (GIM) next month in Bangalore. How feasible is the move to invite huge investments when the state is facing a severe power crunch?

Some brainless people are spreading the rumour that we are spending Rs 1000 crore on GIM. Actually, the expenditure is not even Rs 100 crore. As for the power crisis, I would like to inform you that the government is not going to provide power to every new industry. Many industries would generate power for themselves and would perhaps give the surplus to us. There’s no need to worry.

I am sure that in terms of the overall development of the state, the GIM will become a milestone. We are expecting to attract huge investments—about four lakh crore rupees, to be precise—in a number of areas such as infrastructure, micro and small enterprises, tourism, education, power and health. We are focussing on development in both rural and industrial sectors and simultaneously to generate employment. Many global industrial giants are participating in the event.

It’s being said that the government is more interested in global investment than in rehabilitating lakhs of people displaced by last year’s massive flood?

During the last two-three decades, more than 350 villages have been repeatedly ravaged by floods. But previous governments did not care to make any arrangements for the rehabilitation of those affected. Last year’s flood was of unprecedented magnitude. Now they (the Opposition) are accusing us of not paying attention to this matter. But the fact is that my government is keen to rehabilitate flood-affected people, and we have already done a lot for them. We have distributed the compensation money and have allotted dwelling units to the affected. We are planning to allot around 10,000 more houses this month. It was delayed due to the model code of conduct for the gram panchayat elections. We have acquired around 5000 acres of land to build more dwelling units for the affected. The process for laying power lines and providing drinking water is on. Why, even union home minister Mr. P. Chidambaram appreciated our efforts and speedy work towards rehabilitation.

According to a recent study jointly conducted by FICCI and KAF (Konrad Adenauer Foundation), 42 per cent of the investors are not happy with conditions in the state. They say starting a business here is difficult…

As compared to the neighbouring states, Karnataka has far better conditions and infrastructure for investment. Perhaps the only difficulty is the power supply. But we have already taken steps to generate sufficient power. I hope Karnataka would be self-sufficient in the power sector very soon.

The Opposition says that the power crisis is not as much about production as it is about distribution? Is it true?

They make these accusations to hide their own mistakes committed during their rule. The power leakage during distribution has come down by 25 per cent in our regime.

Your government has repeatedly been accused of trying to protect some tainted ministers. The Opposition has been demanding their dismissal but you have not yielded so far?

It’s not the Opposition’s job to advise as to who should be in the cabinet and who should be thrown out. It’s the people, and not the Opposition, who decide who is tainted and who’s not. And the people have given their mandate to us. There is no tainted minister in my cabinet. The Opposition keeps levelling such accusation just for the sake of it.

What do you think of the Governor’s show-cause notice to your tourism minister G. Janardhana Reddy, seeking explanation on his alleged involvement in some illegal activities?

I don’t want to comment on this.

Experts have opined that the recently inaugurated Mysore airport has failed to meet international standards…

I have already made it clear that we will extend full support to the agencies concerned for putting in place the safety mechanisms in Mysore airport and the other proposed airports in Shimoga and Gulbarga. We have instructed that passenger safety should be given priority in the construction of these two airports.

Why has your promise of granting more power to the Lokayukta not materialised yet?

The issue will be discussed in the coming Legislative Assembly session. We will take a decision soon.

What’s your opinion on the UPA government’s proposed amendments to the RTI Act?

The central government should not take any decision in this regard in a hurry. It should allow for a national debate on the issue and then consider all shades of opinion before taking a final decision on the amendment to the RTI Act.

Which department in the state has been the best performer in your view?

I would not like to mention any particular department. All the departments are development-oriented though some departments need to initiate more reforms. I am glad to mention that in the rural development area, we are the number one state in the country. Also, Mysore is rated as the second best city in Indian in terms of sanitation and overall cleanliness.

Your government has seen many controversies during the two years of your rule. How do you feel regarding these imbroglios?

We have passed through many agni pareekshas (trials by fire) successfully in the last two years of my regime. We are confident that we will complete the remaining three years just as successfully.

For Complete IIPM Article, Click on IIPM Article

Source :
IIPM Editorial, 2009

An IIPM and Professor Arindam Chaudhuri (Renowned Management Guru and Economist) Initiative

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