Friday, July 28, 2006

Mayor caught on wrong foot over illegal construction

Mayor caught on wrong foot over illegal construction
Deccan Herald

There was furore at the Bangalore Mahanagara Palike council meeting on Thursday when Mayor Mumtaz Begum was accused of facilitating una-uthorised construction on BMP property by a member of the ruling Congress party.

The property concerned is adjacent to Garuda Mall on Magarath Road. It is incidentally sought to be used for a multi-level parking complex to be built as a joint venture by BMP and Garuda Mall promoters - Maverick Holdings.

No apology

Corporator Keshavamurthy (Ward Jagjeevanramnagar), who hurled the charge against the Mayor, refused to apologise and was later suspended for a week. Opposition JD (S) and BJP members occupied the well of the House demanding the Mayor’s clarification or an inquiry. The council proceedings thereby came to an abrupt halt.

Mr Keshavamurthy, spe-aking to reporters, claimed that officials at the level of the BMP Commissioner too were behind the allegedly unauthorised construction.

A prompt press briefing by the Mayor, Deputy Mayor Lakshminarayana and lea-der of the Congress group H Ravindra seemed to send the matter into a tailspin. All the three acknowledged that they were aware of the unauthorised construction and that Garuda Mall promoters were responsible. Deputy Mayor Lakshminarayana furthered it with a rhetoric: “Show me one building in Bangalore that has no deviation whatsoever...” he said.

The Mayor said during a spot inspection about a month ago, she had noticed the unauthorised construction on BMP property adjoining Garuda Mall and directed officials to halt the work. An attendant at the site had informed them that the construction was by Garuda Mall promoters, they said.

Mr Keshavamurthy’s counter argument was why the upcoming unauthorised construction was not demolished at the behest of the Mayor or officials.

The Mayor said the questions of demolition and action against erring officials was left to the BMP Commissioner.

“I will seek a report and action within a week,” she said.


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