Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Delay hits development work

Delay hits development work

Chitra V. Ramani


Bangalore: The city's roads are riddled with potholes. Several development works have been suspended. The 198 wards are crying for funds. Yet, the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) budget for 2010-11 remains elusive.

The budget was first proposed to be presented on August 8 and was later postponed to August 16. Later, the chairperson of Standing Committee on Taxation and Finance stated that the budget would be presented on August 23. However, on Tuesday, Mayor S.K. Nataraj announced that the budget would be presented in September. However, members of the standing committee claimed that the budget would be presented on August 31.

Sources in the BBMP said that the standing committee was formed over two months ago and the budget was yet to be presented. “First, the Mayor and others claimed that they did not want to present the budget during Ashada, considered an inauspicious month in the Hindu calendar. Another reason was the Opposition party members participating in the Congress convention in Bellary. The date was later changed to August 16,” sources said.

The real reason, however, seems to be the Rs. 3,400-crore midnight tender case that is being heard in the High Court of Karnataka. The Mayor and others want to include it in this year's budget. According to a senior councillor, the BBMP was awaiting judgment in the case. “The citizens are putting up with a lot of civic problems. It is the responsibility of the BBMP to present the budget immediately. All the elected representatives are waiting for the budget to take up works in their respective wards,” he said.

He also asked why the Mayor had to wait for so long to request additional funds from the Government. “The State Government in its budget has already set aside funds for the BBMP. It has been four months since the elected representatives formed the council. The budget is being postponed needlessly,” he charged.

Meanwhile, Opposition Leader of Janata Dal (Secular) in the BBMP Council Padmanabha Reddy has claimed that with the Governor approving the amendment of the Karnataka Municipal Corporation Act, 1976, the number of standing committees had been increased from eight to 12. The number of members had also been increased from seven to 11. With this, the Standing Committee on Taxation and Finance formed two months ago would automatically cease to exist, he claimed.

He said that the Mayor cannot allow the standing committee to present the budget. “All the decisions taken by the committee so far will also have to be placed before the council for discussion.” He said the elections to the 12 new standing committees must be held immediately. “One week notice must be issued and elections must be held for all the 12 committees,” he added.

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