Star Of Mysore exclusive Dasara interview with MCC Commissioner
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Star Of Mysore exclusive Dasara interview with MCC Commissioner

October 8, 2023

By Shadan Muneer

Ashaad-ur-Rahman Shariff, a native of Mysuru, has been leading the charge as Mysuru City Corporation (MCC) Commissioner to make Mysuru Dasara-ready. He is cut out for the job considering that he is specialised in managing Municipal Administrations. After passing his competitive exams in 2004, he was selected for the Karnataka Municipal Administrative Services (KMAS).

Ashaad-ur-Rahman Shariff’s career began as the Chief Officer of Gundlupet in 2007, followed by roles as the Commissioner of Madikeri Urban Development Authority and the Commissioner of Tumakuru City Corporation.

Shariff also served as the Managing Director and CEO of Davanagere Smart City, where he earned accolades for its first-place ranking among Smart Cities in Karnataka and tenth place nationwide.

Ashaad-ur-Rahman Shariff also held positions as Project Director in Mysuru and Joint Director (Swachh Bharat Mission) at the Directorate of Municipal Administration in Bengaluru. He was posted as the Mysuru City Corporation Commissioner in July earlier this year.

Star of Mysore Special Correspondent Shadan Muneer had the opportunity to speak with the MCC Commissioner to gain insights into his ideas, accomplishments and personal life. Excerpts. —Ed

Star of Mysore (SOM): Could you share your journey and the factors that inspired your career growth?

Ashaad-ur-Rahman Shariff: I spent my childhood in a village and attended school in Kabini Colony, H.D. Kote. We later moved to Mysuru, where I completed my PUC and earned an engineering degree from Mandya.

Initially, I worked as a Police Officer in Bengaluru for four years and then I passed the competitive exams, securing a position in the KMAS (Karnataka Municipal Administrative Services). I began my administrative career in 2007 as a Chief Officer and have been serving in the administration, working with five different  Municipal Corporations ever since.

SOM: You are at the helm of Mysuru City Corporation (MCC) during the crucial Dasara festival. How are you managing and implementing development works in preparation for the festival?

Shariff: The MCC has already initiated numerous projects to beautify the city, including road repairs and re-lay damaged road sections. Other efforts include enhancing parks, re-painting landmark structures, heritage buildings and prominent circles, fixing non-functional streetlights and repairing footpaths.

As a team, we are also dedicated to ensuring the city is spotless in preparation for the 10-day extravaganza. Special inspections have been conducted to identify areas requiring extra attention.

SOM: What additional preparations are being made this year to give the city a facelift?

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Shariff: The multi-level parking complex near the Town Hall, capable of accommodating 500 cars, will be opened this year. We have consulted with a heritage experts’ team to enhance heritage arches, along with efforts to maintain and operate fountains. Permanent illumination for some prominent Circles is also in the works.

Mysuru will shine bright as the Chamundeshwari Electricity Supply Corporation (CESC) plans to illuminate about 135 kilometres of roads and 119 Circles. However, this year’s Nada Habba Dasara celebrations will be scaled down due to drought conditions.

SOM: With an increase in tourist influx during Dasara, handling additional waste and garbage is a concern. What measures are in place to manage this?

Shariff: During the festive period, civic workers have been put on round-the-clock duty with increased shifts. We plan to hire an additional 395 civic workers exclusively for Dasara to keep the city clean and hygienic.

These workers will be assigned to various packages and stationed at Dasara venues and tourist spots, including the Aahara Mela, Yuva Dasara, Flower Show, exhibition grounds, Chamundi Hill, Mysore Palace and other locations that attracts large crowds.

Meanwhile our regular Pourakarmikas, numbering 2,100, will continue to maintain cleanliness across all 65 Wards in their respective areas. Machinery will be utilised to clean manholes and drainage lines. Night cleaning machines will be deployed to keep the city clean without disturbing daytime traffic.

SOM: Mysuru is the second city in the country certified for Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) in handling plastic waste. What steps are being taken to maintain this recognition and how can citizens get more involved?

Shariff: Indeed, MCC is the second city in the country to be certified for recycling 11 metric tons of plastic waste, turning multilayer plastic waste into useful products and recycling single-use plastic into tiles, benches and other products. We are planning to implement several new technologies to advance EPR.

Additionally, we intend to collect expired drugs for proper disposal. We have already taken measures to discourage the use of plastic bags and educated the public on waste segregation to keep the city plastic-free. Public participation and co-operation are crucial to our efforts to make the city plastic-free.

SOM: Mysuru was ranked as the ‘Cleanest City of India,’ but it has slipped in the ranking in recent years. What are your plans to reclaim the top spot?

Shariff: Mysuru was ranked as the Number 1 cleanest medium city (population between 3 and 10 lakh) and currently holds the fifth spot in the overall cleanest city survey. Previous officers and Pourakarmikas have worked tirelessly to improve our ranking but without public co-operation we cannot achieve the first spot.

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We have implemented various initiatives to educate citizens about waste management and conducted awareness programmes. Cleanliness, waste segregation, proper disposal of medical waste is essential to regain the top spot.

SOM: Unauthorised flex boards and banners have become an eyesore and are marring the beauty of the city. How do you propose to curb  this menace?

Shariff: We have instructed the MCC Zonal Commissioners to take up the steps required to maintain Mysuru as a ‘flex free city’ in tune with its heritage status. Unauthorised installation of hoardings, banners and publicity materials have already been prohibited. In case of violation, penalty will be levied against the persons responsible as per the Supreme Court orders.

We are planning to provide a different platform as an alternative and are considering to install digital boards and big electronic screens in particular zones to maintain the ambience of the city.

SOM: What best practices do you intend to implement for Mysuru’s development during                           your tenure?

Shariff: Our focus will be on cleanliness and sanitation. Apart from that, building upon the Smart City initiatives in Tumakuru and Davanagere, we plan to introduce digital libraries in Mysuru, benefiting the middle class and less privileged individuals and providing easy access to the internet. We are also working to ensure sustainable electric energy by installing solar power sources.

To enhance administrative efficiency, we will implement CCTV cameras for monitoring and surveillance. We have also applied for e-offices to speed up the work; addressing and responding to the requirements and complaints of the public is something that I am aiming at.

SOM: How do you manage to stay stress-free  despite your gruelling schedule?

Shariff: I have a passion for cricket and am part of a cricket academy in Rajivnagar, where I live. I also enjoy watching movies in various languages with my family and I’m passionate about gardening. Spending quality time with my two daughters is a source of joy for me, even with my busy schedule.

Since I’m passionate about my work and have been a specialised Municipal Services Officer for many years, I’ve become accustomed to the pressures and responsibilities that come with it.

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