March 08, 2012


A couple of days back; I had called upon the ailing Kannada poet Sri Nisar Ahmed at the Sagar Apollo Hospital. THE NITHYOTSAVA KAVI as he is fondly identified by every Kannadiga, is a prominent poet of our times. His contribution to Kannada literature is immense, as he is known to have provided a new impetus to Kannada poetry. Recipient of many awards including the Prestigious Padma, the achievements have never belittled him. People living in South Bangalore would have spotted the great poet walking simply along the busy roads of DVG road all alone for himself.

The sight of him lying on the hospital bed was most agonising for me. While wishing him a speedy recovery, it was just spontaneous for me to enquire with the doctors about the approximate cost of the medical expenses and to tell them that his medical expenses would be borne by the Government. I didn’t have an inkling of awareness that the poet might have needed monetary help from someone to sail through the torment that he was undergoing.

Immediately upon my return, I met the Hon’ble CM, requested for it and yesterday a cheque of 1.80 lakhs drawn out of Chief Minister’s relief fund was sent through my officer to hand it over to him. While it was a sense of satisfaction for me that the work was done as promised and as fast as it could, I didn’t have an idea that my little    effort could render me to one of the biggest embarrassments. What I learnt from my Officer who visited him, would be a proof of what I was intending to tell you.

The veteran poet was somehow in dire need of money to meet his medical expenses. While he and his wife were shocked to see the bills that were given to them earlier by the Hospital, his wife is said to have consoled him that something would surely happen that wouldn’t leave them in lurch. It was just accidental that I visited them on that day, and more coincidental that I assured, his medical expenses will be borne by the Government. They too must have rubbed off my assurance like any other persons’.

I learnt the poet is said to be all his tears when he saw the cheque that was given to him. He is said to have told, his faith in the system has got a fresh lease of life by an incident like this.


March 06, 2012


Advocate friends have demanded my Resignation along with my colleague Ashok's.

I am an Advocate since 1981. In fact the immediate past President of Bangalore Advocates Association Sri Putte Gowda and myself were enrolled on the same day. In my capacity as the Law Minister I have  always tried to positively respond to the needs of the Courts and Advocates and I think my friends in the Bar will agree with me.

I was really sad to read about the demand of my   Resignation from  the the delegation of Advocates Association. What are my omissions and commissions?

On 2nd March, which can rightly be termed as Black Friday what should not have happened became an unfortunate and tragic reality. On that day  I had left  by road  at 5-30 am to reach Kalasa (Chikmagalur) for the Election meetings, as I have been given the responsibility of the district in the ensuing Bye elections.  At the time of my leaving the capital I did not have any premonition that troubles of that magnitude would erupt on that day. Even as I reached Kalasa at 12-00 pm, I came to know about the war like situation. I spoke to Police Commissioner, DGP, Home minister and Chief minister.( may not be in the same order). One knows that Kalasa is at a distance of nearly 350 kms from Bengaluru. Even as I came to know about the ghastly happenings, I started my return journey. On that day I traversed around 700 kms. I reached CM’s residence straight and discussed with him about the situation. By that time CM had completed few rounds of meetings with Home department officers.

On the following day High Court had announced a sort of holiday to all the courts in Bengaluru. Incidentally, a Lawyer friend of mine who is the President of Tumkur Advocates Association had lost his wife on the previous day. I went to his place. It was an ironic death. His wife who was a well known Doctor, after finishing her customary rounds entered a ward, sat on a cot and felt a little uneasiness. Before medical help could reach her in her own hospital the Doctor passed away. And she was only 42. My friend was inconsolable. He hugged me and broke down saying 'she has left me an orphan'. I was really disturbed. After making feeble attempts to calm him down, I left that place one hour later. Both Home Minister and I along with our officers continued our deliberations to diffuse the situation. The one thing that I should have done and failed to do was meeting the injured(both advocates and police) in different hospitals. As High court had announced holiday, I could  not go to City Civil Court Premises too.

On Sunday, Hon'ble CM, Home Minister and myself decided to attempt to bring both Advocate fraternity and Media friends to a negotiating table. Time was also fixed. I spoke to many senior Advocates including the past Advocate Generals, members of the Bar Council etc., All agreed that this meeting is much needed and accepted to attend. Similarly I spoke to my friends in the media field. (both from Print and Electronic) Very well known personalities in the media appreciated the effort and agreed to be a part of this meeting. But Alas. The 6-00 pm meeting could not take place as the president of the Advocates Association could not make it.( He was in his native place apparently for his father's ceremony)

Yesterday again we continued our efforts. I met our Advocate General. Then had discussions with two Hon'ble Judges of High Court one of whom is the Administrative Judge of Bengaluru. A formula was envisaged. After discussing with our State's Chief Secretary, I and Sri Ashok met The Hon'ble Chief Justice.  We explained our preparedness to move forward to end this conflict by implementing around 7 points immediately that are felt necessary.

We are hopeful to see both media and advocates who have their respective issues through their representatives at the negotiating table today. We have asked the CM to reach Bengaluru canceling all his engagements from his tour. It may happen only if our friends are ready.

These being the hard efforts made in the prevailing situation, I really do not know the reason of my Advocates friends' demand. I am ready to accede to that demand for resignation, if that facilitates smooth functioning of Courts thus putting an end to lakhs of litigants and also facilitates the healthy relationship between the Advocates and Media. My sincere appeal to both the responsible professions of our society is this "When two powerful Elephants fight, it is the grass that suffers".

Please announce a full stop. The mudslinging is not doing good to either party. Black coat should not be humiliated in the manner as being done as this BLACK COAT has produced thousands of First rate Patriots. Similarly Independent Press of our country is responsible for our many rights getting protected. We have to relax our rigid stands in the interests of our larger society. I appeal once again.


March 02, 2012


My sojourn of over three decades from the grassroots level of a corporator to a cabinet Minister in the Government system was at an all time high today in terms of satisfaction. My most ambitious project, SAKAALA has been unveiled.

It was four and a half months back, I and the Chief Minister Sri Sadananda Gowda were discussing about the immediate need to make the government machinery more accountable to the people. With every government department becoming a breeding place for corruption, more often, we see an all round disgruntlement when it comes to functioning of this system in our society. Our discussion cantered on how to bring a pro people change here.

There are few states like Punjab, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh etc which have thought constructively in this manner. They have gone on to implement an act called Right to services for ensuring time bound delivery of government services to the people. While our discussion zeroed in on emulating the right to services implemented in those states, it also set a mood how to better it. The Chief Minister assigned the task to me with a desire to come out with the best.

You will appreciate, that myself and a team of Senior Officers were so obsessed with the purpose that we must have conducted over a dozen interactions before we came up with a strong bill. Just in a couple months the bill came up for a lively debate in both the houses of legislature and it was passed with highest concurrence. Not just that, every legislator, cutting across party lines was full of praise for it.

It was a journey we undertook to Bihar later to meet the Chief Minister Mr Nitish Kumar with an intention to know how effectively the act has been implemented there. So happy he was, that his utterance that Karnataka should implement the act more effectively thanks to its better administrative culture still lingers in my mind. Apart from meeting the Deputy CM, Mr Susheel Modi, we also visited 2-3 blocks in Bihar to ascertain the practicality of implementation. It bettered our confidence and a resolve to implement more able Act, grew stronger.

And today, was the day I yearned for. SAKAALA – right time, suitable time and within the stipulated time has hit the notes finally. Today four Sri Harikotas in Karnataka have formally projectiled the weapons for the service of the common man. Aurad taluk in Bidar, Puttur taluk in DK, Dharwad and Chitradurga taluks have started functioning as pilot places for effective implementation of the act. Jayanagar in Bangalore saw the formal inauguration by the CM himself. April 2nd will see all the departments and all the places implementing SAKAALA.

While Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab have as fewer citizen services as 50 and 60, Karnataka is set to give as many as 151 services of eleven departments in stipulated time frame to the common man.(This number is bound to increase). This number of services is at least three times more compared to other states. While our intention is to minimize the point of interaction of common man with officials so that corruption recedes, it is our endeavor to punish the guilty too.

Getting government services is the right of every citizen, which this bill will surely ensure. I thank the Chief Minister whole heartedly for reposing faith in me in handing over this responsibility. My special thanks also go to all the Officers esp. Sri K Jairaj, Additional Chief Secretary, Dr Shalini Rajnish, Principal Secretary (DPAR), Pradip Singh Carola, Commissioner, Commercial Taxes and Dr Amita Prasad, Principal Secretary, Rural Development.

It’s a process designed for continuous improvement. Your suggestions will also be heard. You can call on 080-44554455, a designated call centre for any query and suggestions. You can email me too as always.


March 01, 2012


Smt Rohini nilekhani, who is heading an organisation very appropriately named ARGHYAM made me to visit Mulbagilu town in kolar dt yesterday. Mulbagilu is a place where the great DV Gundappa, popularly known as DVG was born. He is  the creator of MANKUTHIMMANA KAGGA - the kannadiga common man's Bhagavadgeetha.

Although, Mulbagilu has known live water source nearby, the town’s water resources were dried up thanks to its mismanagement. ARGHYAM has rightly selected this town, to come out with a model to every habitat of Karnataka. Arghyam concentrated on four main issues of water, ground water discharge, rain water harvesting, solid waste management and sanitation. In my available two hours of visit to the town, I visited a community toilet, a revived kalyani  and a place where the local community participated in solid waste management.
The public toilet was abandoned years back as no one was there to maintain it. The voluanteers of ARGHYAM motivated local families to ensure that the people stopped public defecating and ensured they started using this toilet. Today, not only the toilet is maintained very well by one of the members of the community, it is being used by fifty families surrounding it. People voluntarily pay a small sum of Rs 50 a month against which an identity card is issued to them. No one is reluctant to pay the amount, as everyone is sure of a clean atmosphere there. The toilet houses bathing facility too.

Kalyani is a word almost extinguished in present days. It was a popular and a holy water body usually attached to a temple or similar place. There are over 8 kalyanis in mulabagilu. One such kalyani has been revived jointly by ARGHYAM and the local TMC. Today the kalyani boasts of containing 9 million ltrs of water in it. This has happened in just a span of a year.

I was told a small anecdote. The then municipal president who was a muslim readily accepted to participate in reviving this kalyani attached to a temple. This surely sent a message in the days when the word called secularism remained just a slogan. The story of community participation in solid waste management was still more encouraging. The local deputy superintendent of police was all praise for ARGHYAM's initiative. He was telling about the changed atmosphere today thanks to active community participation. Each family pays Rs 10/- for the collection of garbage and the garbage is segregated at the house level itself.

After successful initiative, ARGHYAM has decided to hand over  the management of these works to the local body as it believes that till now it has served the role of a felicitator and the local empowerment and good governance coupled with proper planning is the manthra. Now, everyone is crestfallen about the news of moving over of ARGHYAM from mulabagilu. People here want ARGHYAM to continue further and guide them in these endeavours.

You all very well know, Mrs. Rohini Nilekhani is the wife of Mr Nandan nilekhani who is heading the central government’s gigantic task of UID. It was just amazing to see this lady's enthusiasm to bring change to the society we live. My kudos to her.

S Sureshkumar