Sunday, October 25, 2009

Civic body ignores city's underbelly

Civic body ignores city's underbelly

BBMP claimed there was no demand for its schemes among SC/STs

Senthalir S. Bangalore



Infrastructure development is intrinsic to enhancing the quality of life in any city. But smooth roads and swanky flyovers may come to nothing, if a major part of the city's population is left to fend for itself in abject poverty.
Addressing the city's underbelly, however, seems to just not figure in the scheme of things the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) has for the city. In a shocking revelation elicited by an RTI application, it has come to light that crores of rupees allocated by the BBMP for education, employment and welfare schemes for SC/STs has remained unused over the past decade.
The RTI filed by M Venkatesh of the Dalit Bahujan Movement, has revealed that between 2000-01 to 2008-09, Rs 400.83 crore allocated for the SC/ST development programmes in the city remained unutilised. "There still is no hope. Even during this fiscal, BBMP has not spent a single rupee on these schemes between April and June. The schemes remain only on paper and no individual from the poorer sections of the city has benefited from them," said Venkatesh.
The BBMP's failure to use funds allocated for a particular purpose almost borders on the outrageous, coming as it does during the days of government agencies complaining of lack of funds to achieve their targets.
The BBMP had promised to spend at least 18% its entire budgetary allocation on welfare schemes for SC/STs from 2000-01 onwards. "For the past seven years, only 40% of the total amount allocated for SC/ST development has been used," Venkatesh said.
When activists questioned as to why the BBMP had not spent the allocated amount, they were reportedly told that there was no demand from SC/STs for education and job programmes.
When dna.sunday contacted the civic body, a senior BBMP official said the allocated amount was not used during the first quarter this fiscal as the model election code of conduct was in place. He claimed the Palike has plans to implement the SC/ST programmes immediately with the money available.
Venkatesh has now moved the SHRC and Lokayukta on the issue.

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