MATHIHALLI MADAN MOHAN writes from Hubli: We live in an age in which we can barely think or act about anything that doesn’t concern us or our own. And we seem to be heading into an age, if we are not in it already, that salutes and celebrates this kind of “gated” individualism and insularity.
Yet, what is it about P. Manivannan, the IAS officer, that makes people buck the conventional wisdom? How (and why) do we step into the streets, write letters, sign petitions, call for bandhs, and take up cudgels on his behalf to allow him the full and free run to discharge the civic tasks assigned to him?
It happened in Hubli-Dharwar earlier where people, politicians and parties rallied in unison to seek his retention. And now it seems to be happening in Mysore although we can’t be too sure.
The answers are manifold, but they are also bafflingly simple.
Manivannan, it seems, appeals to the core democratic values that seem to be fast vanishing from our midst, especially among our political and administrative masters. Namely, an unflinching respect for the law of the land, a tough no-nonsense approach in applying it uniformly, and a desire and drive to involve “We, the People” in securing what the framers of our Constitution intended us to receive.
And he never fails to get tomorrow’s citizens, today’s children, involved in the proceedings.
When he arrived as the Commissioner of Hubli-Dharwar Municipal Corporation, three-and-a-half years ago, he was an unknown commodity. Many thought it was some sort of punishment posting since not many in the IAS tribe would like to involve themselves in the unglamourous world of municipal administration.
By the time he left more three years later, Manivannan had acquired a new image and given the post he occupied new teeth. He had become a virtual messiah.
Manivannan’s heroic image is also a reflection of the municipal system in Karnataka that lies totally crippled. It suffers from a resource crunch which is perpetual. It is mostly dominated by a coterie of self-serving corporators, corrupt officials, and unscrupulous builders, developers and contractors, besides other vested interests.
And “We, the People” are helpless to do anything while our towns and cities are strangulated in front of our own eyes.
Manivannan’s approach to tackling these not insignificant problems is simple. Without taking recourse to the normal bureaucratic urge to get additional powers or money from the government, he diligently does what we have come not to expect any longer.
Namely, he applies the existing rules and uses the existing resources!
One crucial weapon he employs in achieving this is inspiring his much-maligned and slovenly staff. Instead of being passive agents of politicians and other vested interests, he empowers them into becoming instruments of change to deliver the goods to the people who underwrite their salaries.
Witness, for example, the sight of municipal staff suddenly looking smart and feeling proud in their new uniform.
Witness, for example, the sight of his some of them turning up to seek a revocation of his transfer.
In Hubli, it was his drive against unauthorised constructions, violations of building laws, and illegal encroachments that brought him the sobriquet “Demolition Man”. And it is precisely that reputation that has had politicians, developers and other landsharks in Mysore—often the three being the same—quivering in their pants.
Manivannan’s demolition drive is a sight to behold. He visualises every aspect of it. He ensures that the very same municipal staff, who had connived with the violators, are in full public gaze during the demolition. And, he puts on his helmet and leads the demolition team from the front.
Unlike the usual spectacle of debris accumulating for months, it is cleared almost immediately, with a view to not inconveniencing road users. And unlike the usual spectacle of the rich and powerful being spared, the excavators strike at targets without considering the financial or political antecedants of their owners.
In Hubli, among the buildings tackled were some which belonged to supporters of leading politicians, including ministers. But none dared to protest openly because of the opprobrium involved.
In a bid to get the irritant removed, a cartel of contractors pulled the requisite political strings and got him transferred him as deputy commissioner. The public, which had seen what could be done by a steely application of the laws and rules, was incensed. This triggered off widespread protest, which resulted in the transfer orders being rescinded.
During his tenure, the tax-collection machinery was geared up to bring more revenue. Work was decentralised by opening zonal offices, which obviated the need for people to go to the head office to get even small works done. He went in for e-governance, opened a website to bring about transparency in administration and introduced a new work culture.
Every tender was publicly advertised instead of being secretly farmed out. He opened channels of communication by interacting with NGOs on identifying civic problems and finding remedies, and providing for citizens vigil over the quality of work turned out. He also took steps to set up citizens committees for better involvement.
Thanks to Manivannan, the roads of twin cities became wider and better, and the second biggest corporation jurisdiction in the State now sports a cleaner, better look. Hopefully, Mysoreans will get to enjoy such stern urban governance without which the “Heritage City” could well go to seed.
But will our politicians and their puppeteers allow him to do that?
More importantly, do the people want it badly enough to not let crooked politicians and their puppeteers come in the way?
in the spirit of the article, i would like to humbly submit this:
How they do it: Citizen Committees in Hubli-Dharwad
Hubli & Dharwad, the oft-neglected poor cousins of Bangalore, Mangalore and Mysore, have pioneered a systematic method
of actually involving citizens in the upkeep of the city. And the citizens have
responded with innovation & motivation …
People of a residential area in Hubli have insured a
critical arterial road passing through their area for Rs 2 lakh with an annual
premium of Rs 303. The residents contributed equally to pay the premium. In
case of any claims for the damages mentioned in Standard
Fire and Special Perils Policy schedule, the amount would be
directly remitted to HDMC’s account from which the road can be rebuilt.
This whole idea of insuring the road, so as to be able to
better maintain it, came from the citizens. It was presented to the
commissioner, who agreed to insure it on behalf of the corporation. The
citizens then went ahead and got a No Objection Certificate from HDMC, and then
approached an insurance company. The road now is insured.
Innovation, localization, motivated citizenship, and
responsive administration – this is the holygrail of citizen participation in
governance. And yet, this did not happen by accident. This is exactly how the
system was designed to work. Yes, Hubli & Dharwad, the oft neglected poor
cousins of the pampered Bangalore, Mangalore and Mysore sisters, have pioneered
a systematic, by-the-rule, system of actually involving citizens in the upkeep
of the city. Nay, they have a system that mandates citizen’s participation in
the upkeep of the city. To quote Manivannan, the HDMC commissioner –
HDMC no more takes up any work from head office. Funds are
allocated to local Zonal offices and they take up the work in consultation with
the local citizen committees. … Work will be taken up as per the priority list of the
citizen committee only. The commissioner has no discretionary powers in this
He of course, is referring the Hubli & Dharwad Citizen’s
Committee that he not only envisioned, but also worked tirelessly to implement.
There is no precedent of such a committee anywhere in India. The grass roots
level Citizen’s Committee is no elitist oligarchy. It is made up of ordinary
citizens who pass certain minimum qualifications. (Those interested in details
can look up this reference.)
But the Citizen’s Committee is not HDMC’s only claim to
fame. Get this, the message I have quoted above, the one in italics, the one
about HDMC not taking any work from the head office – that, is the actual text
typed by the commissioner himself on an Internet forum that is moderated by a
citizen volunteer, Sunil Nalvade. Apart from the commissioner and the deputy
commissioner, various other officials including engineers from the local
electricity board are members of that group and openly offer to answer any
relevant questions that citizens might have.
All this has not gone un-requited, Manivannan is now set to
be transferred and citizens are doing everything in their power to retain him,
for the third term. But there is more to this than personality worship, the changes are fundamental – to
complete the story about the insured road, I quote the DH article that got me writing:
The people here opined that the corporation has helped them
a lot in many things and it was also their duty to do something in return to
help the civil body.
The residents are now planning to plant saplings on either
sides of the road for further development.
Why Manivannan evokes fear is obvious for he is upright officer,fearless and follows the very rules and regualtions which others misuse, he is incorruptible, efficient and very hard working. Therefore it is obvious for the influential people and politicians he is a thorn in their side In fact even during the short duration he has brought a miracle of sorts in the attitude and work culture . There is no greater proof of this when I say that the very officers and staff who were criticised by the public once after Manivanna’s pioneering zeal have exhibited qualities of commitment and hard work and efficiency which only goes to prove that people are not inherently bad but it all depends upon the quality of leadeship that infuses a change of atitude. It might surprise unlike what one may expect it isthe same MCC staff who want Manivannan to continue. He provides them all facilities, respects them, ever ready to hear any suggestions or complaints and stands by them and fights for them, all qualities that inspire as if they give new purpose in life. Besides the land mafia, politicins and the moneyed I hazzard the hand of other IAS oficers majority of whom have not lived up to the expectation being jealous and working behind scenes to oust him. Mysoreans should not allow this to happen for citizens are the trustees who have stake in the development of Mysore of our dreams. If Mysore languishes into chaos it is not Mysore that fails but whole of Karnataka for Mysore is a symbol of all that is great and noble, a city of arts, music and culture, a tourist dream city, intellectual capital,city of lakes. a city where greenery is still intact, it is city full of heritage structures. Therefore, a rejuvinated Mysore will be an example to replicate all over Karntaka for it is like the heart that pumps blood to all other parts of Karnataka and certainly Manivannan has in him to make it a reality.
che! intha obba devatha manushyanna ee bjp.. naak divasadalli ettangadi maaDbitralla… ee anyaaya keLOr yaarU ilve?!! ivaranna innu 20 tingaLu aaLakke biTTiddre.. innu EnEn anaahutagaLu naDeduhOgtiddavO. gowdru dEvr baMd haMge baMdu namma rajyavanna uLsiddare. alas.. just a day or two too late for mysore :(
That was done by the ‘brain work’ of Dirty Devegowda!
A comment on road insurance in the residenstial area was idea innovated by this commenter in the heart of HublI CITY and the name of the road is Timmasagar temple main road in Vidyanagar .The NOC was obtained by me in my name to insure the public road and it has recently become the First City Corporation Road In India to be Insured By citizen HDMC
It’s a Citizens Initiative of Insuring of Public City corporation Road in Hubli in Karnataka. This initiation has began a new chapter in the History of Municipal Corporations For the maintainance of city Corporation Roads by insuring them.
This Achievement is under consideration with Limca Book of Records for First ever Indian Citizen to Insure the Municipal Corporation Road owned by civic body in the country.
Timmasagar Temple Main Road in Vidyanagar Hubli Under an ISO 9001:2000 Certified Hubli Dharwad Municipal Corporation (HDMC) in Karnataka .Roads a Life Line for Every City. HDMC Will become First ever city corporation to have the Insured Road By it’s Citizen in The Country.
Safe Road: TIMMASAGAR TEMPLE MAIN ROAD VIDYANAGAR HUBLI
TECHNICAL DETAILS OF THE ROAD:
Timmasagar Temple Main Road in Vidyanagar is as old as 50 years and connects Two major Arterial roads that is old National Highway No. 4 at one end and Unkal Hosur by pass at other end in the Heart of Hubli city in Vidyanagar runs all along the High profile locality .Length of the Road 385 Mts and width of the road 9 mts, The road Infrastructure work was under taken by HDMC zone 09 at the cost of 10.5 lakhs under Calamity Relief Fund (CRF).
WHAT WAS THE CONDITION OF THE ROAD?
For past 25 years the condition of the road was very bad With full of potholes and commuters of this road had lot of problems using. The road was not maintained By HDMC because of the road being the dividing road between the two wards of 34(New 35) and 43 ( New 45 )thus immense delay was noted by resident citizen for year after years for nearly two decades. In 2006 the resident citizen Who led the campaign for asphalting of the road. Request was brought to the notice of former HDMC commissioner Sri.P.Manivannan who took the task to help residents for the road work. Which was long standing demand of residents. HDMC Brought out work from cold storage to Hot Mixture Plant. HDMC under took the Road Asphalting and infrastructure Facility and completed in Aug 07.
WHY INSURANCE IS NECESSARY FOR PUBLIC ROADS?
Whenever Civic authorities like Corporations or Government, semi Government Organizations Undertake public works through Tenders for Public Roads the maintainance clause applicable for damages but that occur due to Natural Calamities like excess rains, floods are not Accountable in Maintenance conditions put to the contractors . In all such cases Road Insurance will Come in rescue of protecting the road infrastructure. And dependency for repair on the civic bodies like Municipal Corporation is totally avoided which usually causes lot of delays And long process by itself in under taking such Repair works. If the damages are within the clause of claims for repair works can be carried out independently and immidiatly . Thus Insuring the public roads a better option and easy way for all city corportaions because the maintainance will be much neglected in most of the cities in India and Insuring the Public roads will defenitely help maintain them.
HOW TO OBTAIN NO OBJECTION CERTIFICATE FROM CIVIC AUTHORITY?
I being resident citizen of the area Campaigned for the road infrastructure for years with HDMC. Took initiative of this new innovative idea to insure and protect the public road owned by HDMC an ISO 9001:2000 Corporation.Thought It will also reduce the burden of maintenance. Approached HDMC for NOC (No objection certificate) as the owner of the road requested in wrtiting . Response given by HDMC for first ever request for insuring it’s road by citizen for the first time was welcomed by Former commissioner Sri.P.Manivannan and condition being put by the HDMC was that in case of the damages the money from the Insurance company will be directly remitted to the HDMC (Hubli Dharwad Municipal Corporation an ISO9001:2000 Corpn) account for immediate repair of the road damaged.
WHO CAN INSURE THE ROAD?
Any citizen of this country can insure the public roads provided the NOC (No Objection Certificate) from the conscerned authorities is must.The road insurance was possible for any public road under General Insurance clause “Insurable Intrest” Which gives an opportunity for public authority to issue NOC to any Citizen who comes farward to insure any public property owned by Government or Municipal Corporation.
DETAILS OF THE INSURANCE POLICY OF THE ROAD?
With NOC the Insurance company was contacted for a public Road for First time Owned By HDMC.The Oriental Insurance Company Ltd issued the policy for the Newly asphalted Timmasagar Temple Main Road in Vidyanagar Hubli. at a Premium of Rs303/- at sum assured for Rs 2 lakhs issued Standard Fire and Peril Policy Schedule and Policy. NO-22101/11/2008/225 for the road Against the damages in days ahead.
BENEFITS OF INSURING PUBLIC ROADS FOR CIVIC BODIES !
Damages that occur depend on the Geographical area can be claimed under Insurance cover are:1)Fire 2)Lightningstrike 3)Explosion 4)Air craft damage 5)Malicious damage(intentional Damages) 6)Natural calamities like surface erosion due to excess rains and storm ,Tempest ,Impact Damage 7)Land slide,rock slide,8)Bursting of the water tank and under Ground Drainage pipes, pipe line bursts 9)Missile testing 10) Bush fire 11)Earthquake Damage and 12)Automatic sprinkler installation damage.
HOW TO CLAIM AND SETTLE ROAD INSURANCE ?
If any damage that occurs the city corporation along with the Insurance company will be informed and joint inspection of the road will be done and asessment for damages claimed is Estimated and amount for repair will be directly remitted to corporation account for repair work .Thus it will help save time and protect public roads and repair at the cost of Insurance company and saves lot of time and revenue of any Municipal Corporation.
Any private agencies digging the road for laying cables and Underground pipeline with Permission of the civic authority have to pay the Requaired amount for obtaining road cutting permission and Civic body will repair the road it self.
HOW INSURANCE WILL HELP SAVE REVENUE OF CIVIC BODIES?
This initiative of Insuring the road if accepted as new Idea for maintainance of public roads . By Central and State Governments at grass root level it will become reality come true for getting rid of bad roads .If National and State Level planning Commissions initiate a Policy , which definitely benefits to safeguard the Health of public Roads in every city. An idea for the Public Authorities to save the Revenue on the maintainance of roads.
In almost all the cities rapid urbanisation has caused the growth of cities beyond the capacity for which infrastructure is Built and it usually falling short causing several problems in urban Metros and small,larger and medium scale cities .Maintainance of Roads runs in crores for Corporations Every Year across India.
If insurance for public roads is made mandatory and accepted with either citizen participation or with level playing fields in the Revenue,Finance ,Urban Development,Municipal Administration,Public works and Infrastructure Planning,Road Development Corporations, Semi-Government undertakings initiate in Government level policy in Tenders as new innovative idea to save revenue for all the Municipal Corporations and Civic Authorities either in small or medium or large cities will save lot of public money which every civic body spend every year for Maintainance of roads.
It is an low cost affordable Simple solution for long term Maintainance of Public Roads in every city.
it was he who showed what a bureaucrat can do.he did not yield to any politicians pressure he turned the face of hubli dharwad.people like him should be in invovled in policy making decision. his nature of work must inspire young citizens of the country to take up civilservices as their career instead of joining mnc’s
One of the Greatest I A S officer ever seen, Hats OFF
an unforgettable person who gave an uplift to the twin cities – Hubli-Dharwad . . .
we definetely cannot have another one like him … my experience with him during the stray dog sterilization which i had taken up was just inspiring … regrets that we could not have him longer for still a better place..
mani sir gave a seminar in Bangalore.i am so happy and inspired to meet him. He is a humble person and very smart in his thinking
one of the superb IAS officers