Sunday, April 18, 2010

BBMP stalls work on civic projects for one and half months

BBMP stalls work on civic projects for one and half months

Srikanth Hunasavadi. Bangalore

If you are one of those Bangaloreans upset with slow pace of work on civic projects, here is a shocker. For the next 90 days at least, all work on ongoing infrastructure projects carried out by the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) will come to a complete standstill. Also, BBMP won't be taking up new projects during this period. It means that the underpass work on Outer Ring Road, road-widening across the city will stop.
Blame the mess on the time required to form the BBMP council. In the absence of an elected council all these years, the BBMP administrator and Commissioner approved and sanctioned funds for projects. Now, with new elected representatives entering office, the civic body cannot spend a single pie without the council's nod. This is as per the Karnataka Municipalities Act.
It would be at least 90 days before the new Council assumes charge and starts sanctioning funds for infrastructure projects. Mayor election will be held on April 23; BBMP council would be formed the same day. The council would have to prepare the 2010-11 budget and that would take one month at least. The budget would have to be presented and approved. Until all these events, projects across the city will be stalled.
BBMP commissioner Bharat Lal Meena recently issued an order to joint commissioners and chief engineers saying, "Stop all types of developmental works including the ongoing ones, those in completion stage and the approved ones, immediately". A copy of the order is with dna.Sunday. Financial constraint is also a reason. Meena has also said that there is no provision to spend on development projects unless the new council approves the budget. Stop works as it is on March 31, 2010. This step is necessary to bring financial discipline, he said.
The commissioner also directed officials to measure and record the progress of projects; the Special commissioner(Planning) has been asked to submit a report. "In the last two years, several developmental works have been undertaken in the new BBMP areas. Huge revenues are expected. But our expectations have not been met with respect to resource mobilisation. Because of that, we haven't made payments to contractors," Meena said in the order. He has withdrawn his earlier order dated Sept 1, 2009, in which the commissioner had handed over the responsibility of approval of administrative and technical sanctions to Joint and additional commissioners.
Reacting to this, former mayor PR Ramesh said: BBMP is facing severe financial crunch. During administrators' rule, the civic body's coffers were looted. The new council would take at least two years to stand on its own.

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