Additional Chief Secretary of Urban Development Department, Rakesh Singh, on Tuesday tendered an apology to the Karnataka High Court on “misunderstanding and misrepresentation” about the manner of enforcement of Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) in Containment Zones (CZs) in the city.
He said that the State government and the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) will together improve the work while clarifying to the court that people cannot move in and out of the CZs, and that free food kits would be supplied to the poor people living in CZs.
Mr. Singh made these oral submissions while personally appearing before a special division bench comprising Chief Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka and Justice Alok Aradhe through video conference during the hearing of PIL petitions related to issued arisen due to COVID-19 restrictions.
To a query by the bench on why the government is not exercising the power to take over BBMP’s administration despite the latter’s consistence failure to comply with statutory duties, Mr. Singh said that “the State government and the BBMP will work together and improve”.
Though the bench, in its earlier orders, demonstrated the non-compliance of SOP and court’s orders by the BBMP, its Commissioner B.H. Anil Kumar, who also appeared through video conference, said that there was “no defiance from his side”.
When the bench said that then it would hear arguments on this contention of the Commissioner as there was no willingness to accept defiance, a senior advocate, representing the BBMP intervened and clarified that the BBMP will correct its mistakes and file an appropriate written response.
The bench adjourned further hearing till July 15 to enable the BBMP to file its response.
The court had pulled up the BBMP for claiming, contrary to the mandate of the SOP, that people can move in and out of Czs, and for not identifying needy persons in CZs for supply of food kits and ration to their door steps.