Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Infra projects kick up dust

Infra projects kick up dust
Bangalore, June 7, DHNS:

In what is purported to be an attempt to meet the growing needs of the City, the State Government and the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) have drawn up proposals for infrastructure projects worth a whopping Rs 2,000 crore.

But on what basis have these proposals been put forth?

The proposed projects range from road widening to lake rejuvenation and market upgradation. While most projects are in the initial stage, it is still unclear as to how many of these projects validate the requirements of the City.

Ruling party leader in the BBMP Council, Katte Satyanarayan has justified that the Palike will be spending only Rs 99 crore for the projects. This, he says, had been mentioned in the agenda document placed before the Council. But the Government is yet to clarify its stance on the remaining projects to the Bangalore Development Authority (BDA).

Palike insiders suspect that the Government is trying to divert the funds for “misuse.” There are others who believe the State has lost confidence in BBMP to carry out such mega ventures. But who is to be held responsible for the projects being passed?

Mayor S K Nataraj says the State Government was the prime mover. Defending the ruling party and its “hurried” clearance of projects, the Mayor claims that BBMP and the common man, alike, will not be spending a single paisa on these projects.

“When someone is coming forward to provide infrastructure free of cost, why refuse? There are a few small projects worth Rs three to four crore such as market upgradations in the City and others which we will be taking care of,” he says.

However, Leader of the Opposition in the BBMP Council, M Nagaraj believes that Projects worth Rs 2,000 crore were not priority. “We are still awaiting some sort of relief from the water crisis. Amid such immediate needs, the Rs 2000-crore projects are simply not required,” he feels, suspecting that the Government is trying to misuse the funds.

“What we are seeing right now is a classic case of misusing funds meant for the development of the City. With an elected body in place, the Government is scared that the 198 corporators will raise the feasibility issue of the mega projects,” he says.

On his part, the Mayor is sure that the BBMP will not take up the works before placing it before a Standing Committee for clearance. “We will be placing before the Standing Committee those works that fall under our purview for clearance before sanctioning the same,” he assures. Not happy with the the manner in which the project proposals were approved in the Council, Nagaraj says the Opposition will be calling back these Rs 2,000-crore projects under the Karnataka Municipal Corporation (KMC) Act, rule number 10 and 51 for a debate. The debate is expected to happen in the Palike’s next sitting.

While the political implications of the projects are many, the key issue before the corporators is whether a public consultation will be held on the proposed projects. In the past, the Palike had bulldozed through public opinion to start work on the Rabindranath Tagore Circle underpass. The “under used” Basavangudi National College flyover too had a similar past.

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