The literacy level was so low in Siddaramanahundi, that there was no system of recording births then, says Siddaramaiah.
Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, who turned 68 on August 12, chose to keep his birthday a low-key affair, even as a large number of his supporters gathered outside his official residence to greet him. It was in sharp contrast to Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee president G. Parameshwara’s mega birthday celebrations at Palace Grounds in Bangalore a few days ago.
In political circles, Mr. Siddaramaiah’s low-key birthday celebrations were a stern message against lavish functions. Congressmen, who purchased a huge cake for the CM, were disappointed when Mr. Siddaramaiah politely turned down the offer saying he did not believe in celebrating birthdays. He even confessed that he was not sure of his exact date of birth. He told a waiting crowd that as literacy levels were low in his native village Siddaramanahundi, the system of recording births was not practised then. Instead of attending school, he was sent to study Veeramakkala Kunitha, a folk dance. Nanje Gowda, the dance teacher, also taught him elementary Mathematics and Kannada. After that, his parents asked him to start rearing sheep, the traditional occupation of the Kuruba community to which he belongs. “As I knew Kannada and Mathematics, my teacher prevailed upon my parents to enrol me in school,” he said.
The teacher obtained special permission from the Department of Public Instruction to enrol him directly in fifth standard. “In the admission form, the teacher entered the date of my admission to school as my birth date,” Mr. Siddaramaiah said.
Left out in the rejig exercise
Many regional transport officers (RTOs), who have put in over 15 years of service in the same post, are a disappointed lot as the Transport Department has partially implemented its much-vaunted rejig exercise. The department planned to create a few posts of additional commissioners of transport to accommodate some joint commissioners, who had slogged in the same post for years, and also to create posts of senior RTOs or deputy commissioners of transport (DCTs) to accommodate long-serving RTOs. As all the sanctioned posts of DCTs were full, the promoted RTOs were to head busy regional transport offices in Bangalore and elsewhere. A couple of months ago, four posts of additional commissioners were created as against the demand for two to accommodate the senior-most joint commissioners. While one of the senior-most RTOs was promoted as a DCT against a vacant post, others were not fortunate enough. “Though we would have continued to head regional transport offices, the change in nomenclature of the position would have boosted our morale,” said one. Transport Commissioner Rame Gowda, however, has said the department is aware of the plight of the officers.
Appeasement to OBCs
Has the Congress resorted to “appeasement” of other backward classes (OBCs)? This is the inference drawn by leaders of Opposition parties following the government’s directive to officials in all districts and taluks to celebrate Janmashtami with pomp and gaiety, with the respective departments footing the bill. A GO directed authorities to conduct the festival in consultation with the OBC Yadava community, which has a sizeable strength in the State. A sum of Rs. 50,000 and Rs. 25,000 each has been sanctioned to districts and taluks respectively. Funds have been released when the there is byelections to three Assembly constituencies. Apparently, this will become an annual feature and will be an additional burden to the State exchequer. This step has raised many eyebrows. Will the government sanction funds if other communities also demand that their festival be sponsored by the government?
With prices of land scaling dizzying heights, government employees and realty developers are leaving no land vacant in and around Bangalore. This has caused not only encroachment of government land and lakes, but has also given a spurt to land scams and crimes. In one such land scam in Tumkur, 29 employees of the Revenue Department have been named as accused in the case. Police have registered cases against employees who had worked in the Revenue Department in Madhugiri taluk. The department issued title deeds to 265 beneficiaries from 1999 to 2011, which involved 1,200 acres of Amruthmahal Kaval land in Dodderi hobli in the taluk. Amruthmahal Kaval land cannot be allotted to any person as per law. Records show that an acre of land has been sold at a mere Rs. 300 through middlemen. Tahsildar K. Ramesh has decided to pursue the case.