Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Right to Information Act: Citizens dig up swindlers’ list

Right to Information Act: Citizens dig up swindlers’ list
New Indian Express

BANGALORE: Citizens used the Right to Information Act to discover that the Byatarayanapura municipal authorities have cheated them of over Rs 27 crore. They took to the streets on Tuesday to protest.

The CMC books say several crores have been spent on civic amenities. But the sites show no evidence of any work.

Frustrated by the corruption and official indifference to complaints, residents of Ward 14 and 15, led by Nagarika Hitarakshana Samiti decided to do their own digging. They got details of projects by applying for them through the Right of Information Act.

They found that the CMC’s scam runs to over Rs 27 crore. “The books maintain details of contractors with cheque numbers. But none of the projects have been taken up,” says Ashwathnarayan Gowda.

The residents have details of three years. The CMC has not provided borewells or water supply, but has been collecting water fees from households. They have even collected Rs 4,000 to Rs 5,000 for new connections, which were never given. Suprisingly the accounts show that no such money was collected.

When citizens asked for receipts, they were abused.

Tatanagar Residents’ Association has been urging the CMC to take up asphalting of roads and lay stormwater drains. But their pleas have fallen on deaf ears. Shockingly, the CMC has claimed over Rs 15 lakh for the work!

The IISc Housing Society dug its own borewells and Tatanagar residents got water from the BWSSB. But the CMC has taken the credit and taken the money too.

The residents also allege that the CMC has pocketed over Rs 25 crore collected as road cutting charge from broadband companies laying optical fibre networks.

“The councillors of the two wards have shared the spoils among themselves and with other politicians. JD (S) worker K N Chakrapani is the hand behind all this,” Gowda said.

K N Jagadish said that whatever work was done was also sub-standard. The residents have submitted a memorandum to the Chief Minister. “We have only received a letter of assurance but no action has been taken yet,” he said.


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