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K'taka crisis: Holiday for ministers, projects get delayed
Vicky Nanjappa in Bangalore
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October 04, 2007 12:44 IST
The Vidhan Soudha in Bangalore is the seat of power for Karnataka politicians, where mantris and babus converge for work, lobbying and politicking. A visitor seeking an appointment with a top leader or bureaucrat usually has to wait for long hours to manage an appointment in the busy schedule.

However, the corridors of the Vidhan Soudha now wear a deserted look and its corridors have fallen silent, thanks to the ongoing political crisis in the state.

While pending files are piling up in government departments, hapless officials are wondering what to do next. The last file dealt with contractors' bills. It ran into over Rs 500 crore and was cleared by Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy on October 1.

Several files are still waiting for the final nod from the respective ministers. None of the JD-S ministers have made an appearance at the Vidhan Soudha since the power crisis escalated on October 1. On the other hand, BJP ministers have put in their papers and have stopped coming to the Vidhan Soudha.

With the political drama shifting to New Delhi, most of the state BJP ministers have grabbed this opportunity to visit their native places and spend time with their families.  Deputy chief minister B S Yediyurappa also spent time with his grandchildren before leaving for New Delhi.

Thankfully, no major project has been delayed due to the political wrangling between the JD-S and the BJP. In fact, the state cabinet cleared the first phase of the metro rail project before the precipitation of the crisis.

However, the power crisis is bound to hit the villages. Unlike municipal corporations, gram talukas and panchayats have very little funds to sustain themselves. The newly elected members to the local bodies say that several water and road projects in rural areas are waiting for the final sanction from the government. The concerned ministers will not clear any of the files in time, said Chandrashekhar Urs, a corporator from Mysore.

The allotment of lands under the government quota has also come to a standstill, as the Bangalore Development Authority fears that the allocations might get cancelled if another party comes to power.

Moreover, the Bangalore-Mysore Infrastructure Corridor Project may get delayed further due to the power crisis. The government is in the midst of a legal battle in the Supreme Court about this project, which has been mired in controversy and litigations for the last ten years.

The NGEF revival scheme could also run into troubled waters due to this crisis. The government, which had earlier declared Banaglore's NGEF unit as sick, has decided to revive it. Now the government's counsel will have to seek time as none of the concerned ministers are around to instruct them about the next course of action.

Matters appear grim for government related litigations in the high court. At least 60 of the 100 civil cases, which come up for hearing each day, are adjourned for want of instructions from the government.

"The government advocate has sought two months time in my case. I had moved the court on behalf of my client for setting up a school at a village in Chickmagalur. But the government advocate says it needs clearance from the education minister," said P K Kumar, a lawyer.

"We used to feel helpless and sad when we were forced to tell people to wait till the political situation came under control. Once a person asked during the Dharam Singh government crisis, 'What is our fault? We have voted for them to do our work. Why should we suffer due to their internal differences," said Venkatesh P Naik, a former IAS officer.

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