Setting aside the agenda, Kalaburagi City Corporation discussed in length a number of issues such as drinking water and stray animal menace that elected members spontaneously raised. As the meeting began at the Town Hall at about noon on Saturday, Syed Ahmad, former Mayor and corporator from Ward No 5, raised the issue of erratic and contaminated water supply.
Mr. Ahmad said that many localities in the city were getting contaminated water once in 15 days and the Karnataka Urban Water Supply & Drainage Board (KUWS&DB), the authority responsible for water supply in the city, never bothered to fix the issues. Since the issue was genuine and faced by people in their own wards as well, many corporators, cutting across party lines, supported Mr. Ahmad by adding their own woes to his statement.
“Kalaburagi is facing an emergency-like situation; it is water emergency. We have good sources of water to draw from and, yet, we are unable to supply water to localities. People, who are bearing the brunt of mismanagement by KUWS&DB, have approached the elected representatives and the KUWS&DB office in vain. The KUWS&DB officials are inaccessible to the public and are forcing them to increasingly take to the streets. Yet, the KUWS&DB officials remain insensitive to people’s sufferings,” Mr. Ahmad said.
When H.C. Subramanya, Executive Engineer of KUWS&DB, made an attempt to explain the problems, most of the corporators expressed discontent and criticised him for justifying his “mismanagement”.
Upon the demand made by Mr. Ahmad, Mayor Sharn Kumar Modi directed the officials to get the KUWS&DB-supplied water tested from multiple agencies, including the Health Department, to ascertain its quality and usability. “We will shortly have a special meeting in the presence of the Deputy Commissioner for exclusively discussing water-related issues,” Mr. Modi said.
Some of the members raised the issue of inconvenience caused to the public by stray cattle and dogs in the city. Before the agenda was taken up, Huligeppa Kanakagiri, a member, insisted upon taking up the stray cattle menace issue for discussion before going to the formal agenda.
“A motorcycle rider recently died after he rammed a stray cattle. Such incidents are being reported frequently. Yet, the civic body has not taken any step to prevent them,” he said.
Raghunandan Murthy, Commissioner of the civic body, said that a team had already been deployed to catch stray animals. He also promised that one more team would be formed for the task.
Elected members of the civic body demanded that the Mayor ask new officers who joined after the last general body meeting to introduce themselves. Faiz Hussein, chairman of a standing committee, asked if the corporation had any Health Officer.
When Vinod Kumar, the Health Officer, came forward to say that he was working in the civic body for the last nine months, many members were surprised as they had seemingly not seen him earlier. The talks then revolved around the reassignment of responsibilities to the Health Officer. The meeting thus went on shifting from one issue to another despite the Mayor’s repeated requests to focus on the agenda.