Wednesday, February 20, 2008

BBMP budget sans public opinion

BBMP budget sans public opinion
Wednesday February 20 2008 09:07 IST

Basavaraj Itnal

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BANGALORE: Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) would create a record of sorts when it prepares the civic budget next month, For, it would be the second budget of the IT capital of the country prepared by officials without public consultation.

In the absence of a BBMP council and State Assembly, this budget would not even have participation of the people's representatives.

Former mayor P R Ramesh opines that the Karnataka Muncipal Corporations (KMC) Act provides for an advisory committee in the absence of an elected body with not less than 25 members of the public.

Though the term of the last council ended on November 23, 2006, the government has not appointed an advisory committee.

He ridiculed the BBMP for preparing a civic budget without any dialogue with the stake holders. The former mayor, however, recommended a decentralised approach to the forthcoming budget. He said that the budget should be prepared at the level of administrative zones.

BBMP has eight zones and people in the zones must be consulted to prepare the zonal budgets. Ramesh's successor R Narayanaswamy, on the other hand, felt that the city needed a budget and the Palike officials have to prepare one.

“What can officials do if there are no corporators or MLAs? But it would be wrong if the officials made any policy announcements in the budget.” Interestingly, the BBMP has taken many policy decisions in the absence of the council.

Introduction of the capital value system (CVS) of property tax evaluation is one such example. While Narayanaswamy felt that it was wrong on the part of the officials, Ramesh said that the CVS is an anti-people move.

“When it comes into effect by April 1, small households would end up paying Rs 30,000 to Rs 1,00,000 as property tax, including the cess. An elected body would have eased the burden on residences while increasing it on commercial buildings,” Ramesh said.

The last mayor of the Palike, Mumtaz Begum, termed the budget exercises of BBMP officials meaningless.

“What have they done with the proposals in the budgets prepared by an elected body? We had proposed a flyover from The New Indian Express junction to the Shivajinagar bus stop. One more was proposed near Coles Park. What has happened to the proposals to widen important roads? The Government is doing its best to alienate the citizens from the BBMP and I don't expect much from the officials,” she said.


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