Saturday, February 24, 2024

Monday Mirchi : No takers for Special Commissioner – Lakes

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Some posts are landmines even if there is water on the surface level. Protecting lakes in Hyderabad where land sharks are on the prowl is a tough task. An official appointed to helm the department has to deal with politicians, their henchmen, squatters and others having their own agenda in and around lakes in the city. May be this is the reason why more than a year after orders were issued concerning Special Commissioner – Lakes, no one has been appointed yet. It was in October 2021 that the post of Special Commissioner – Lakes was created inter alia to prepare a master plan; form lake protection committee involving local stake holders; and take up measures for protection, strengthening and beautification of lakes in GHMC and within ORR. There are some officers waiting to occupy the post, but the predominant view in bureaucratic circles is whether anybody is eyeing the post.

All eyes on Hyderabad collector
Being Collector of a state capital during the elections has its own charm amid pitfalls. Amid impending reshuffle of Collectors, the topic of hush-hush discussion in the corridors of power is who will be given a chance to be Hyderabad Collector. Amoy Kumar, while holding full additional charge of Hyderabad, is Collector of Rangareddy district. Names of babus who have served the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation are doing the rounds. With Hyderabad having many sensitive polling booths, and with the Bharatiya Janata Party on the rise, a city lad who is currently Collector of a remote district is likely to be posted. Otherwise, many of those who just want to come back to the city are among the front-runners to the post.

Stephen Raveendra is a great anchor
Cyberabad Commissioner Stephen Raveendra was such a delight of an emcee at the Christmas Celebrations at LB Stadium. An officer who normally wears a serious look, he loosened up and enlivened an event on behalf of the Government of Telangana. Stephen began, “As we reflect on the past year, it is hard to ignore the challenges and difficulties the community has faced. Despite the challenges, I am proud how the Christian community has come together to support one and another and work towards a better future”. Year 2022 might have been a roller-coaster for Stephen Raveendra with Srinivas Goud kidnap issue and MLAs poaching case. But he stands by what he had said: “Continue spreading love, joy and giving”. The best part was his parting wit: “We feel God’s favour is on you as you foray into national politics”, he said, while requesting Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao to address people.

Sameer Sharma returns
While micromanagement is a destroyer of momentum, focus on macro issues gives scope for one to leave his mark in the long run. Sameer Sharma, aware of this, seems to have returned to his home in Hyderabad, despite being appointed as CE2CM. Given his position, ranked on par with the CS, there were discussions in some bureaucratic circles about a parallel system being run along with that of CS Jawahar Reddy. A little bird told us that Sameer wants to give full time and free hand to his predecessors who have taken over his role. He does not want to intervene too much into their work. A 1985 batch officer, Sameer was appointed also as Chairman of the AP Pollution Control Board. The former Chief Secretary has since called for a plastic ban. He said that, while pursuing Sustainable Development Goals, his priority areas would be health, women and child welfare, education and agriculture departments.

Legal action on ‘negative’ news
It is difficult to make a Pollyanna of a journalist worth his salt. Still, people expect scribes to write only good stuff, even if it is bereft of truth. The problem arises if journalists are threatened with legal action for writing ‘negative’ news. For, scribes know not what it means! Special CS Poonam Malakondaiah seems to be touchy about what is written after scribes talk to her. A little bird told us that when scribes recently called Poonam, she said she would not talk to them if they had to write negative news. That was not all. She went on to warn them that in case negative news is published, she might resort to legal action. Some scribes stopped talking to her because there are other sources of information always; call it positive or negative news.

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