Saturday, March 06, 2010

The Budget that forgot the city: No new monies, no fresh projects

The Budget that forgot the city: No new monies, no fresh projects KARNATAKA BUDGET 2010-11

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infrastructure The Budget has left city activists and Opposition politicians unhappy

What's new for infrastructure-deficient Be- ngaluru in CM B.S. Yed- dyurappa’s budget for 2010- 2011? Just about nothing.
All that Mr Yeddyurappa has done apparently is to reiterate the BBMP’s capital investment plan for improv- ing infrastructure.

Of course, he has taken account of the money already spent. As a result, what the BBMP had announced as a Rs 22,000 crore investment into infra- structure has become Rs

18,872 crore in the budget, spread over three years. In effect, Bengaluru gets a meagre Rs 6,200 crore this year. Some Rs 3,000 crore will go into upgrading roads, footpaths, grade separators, flyovers, drinking water facilities, drains and sanitary works. Namma Metro gets Rs 600 crore for the year. The budget has left city activists and Opposition politicians unhappy. Janaagraha co-founder Swati Ramanathan and former mayor P.R. Ramesh said the budget was not transparent nor had it failed to initiate any new programme that would benefit the city.
Indeed, the Rs 3,000 crore allocation seems like an omnibus fund, with no break up given as to how much will go into building roads and how much into drains. Ms Ramanathan, who criticised the lack of granular detail about the allocations demanded a mechanism to review the

implementation of projects proposed in the previous budget as well as bench- marking of new municipal services offered to core Bengaluru and to the newly added areas. She feared that much of the budget would remain on paper and pro- jects would never see the light of day, especially given the lack of clarity in allocations.Mr.
Ramesh, who criticized the lack of transparency in the budget, said that the government should be able to say where the money will come from to carry out the projects pro- posed in the budget.

He also said the gov- ernment could have taken note of studies prepared by several organisations about the infrastructure needs of the city before making the allocations.
Lamenting that the Rs 3,000 crore allocation for upgrading infrastructure is not enough, considering the massive needs of the newly added areas of the city, Mr Ramesh pointed specifically to the lack of any proposal on the management of the solid waste that the city gen- erates.


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