Bangalore, July 31, 2013: Sum is half of what Kerala govt shelled out for its roads; inquiry sought into ‘road scam’
Going by the poor condition of roads in the City, one would feel the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) spent very little money on maintaining them. But here’s the catch, the Palike claims it spent as much as Rs 17,802 crore on roads in the last ten years!
And, the sum is half of what the Kerala government spent in that state.
The astonishing revelation was made by Yediyur corporator N R Ramesh at the BBMP council meeting on Wednesday. According to him, most of the money was spent in the core area of City, having the maximum number of potholes at present. The sum was spent between April 1, 2003 and March 31, 2013.
According to Ramesh, between April 1, 2003 and March 31, 2007 when there was only Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BMP) comprising three east, west and south zones, Rs 6,460.76 crore was spent.
After the municipal corporation got the ‘Bruhat’ tag, the total expenditure on roads was Rs 8,799 crore. Out of this amount, the Palike spent Rs 2,540.54 crore on roads between April 1, 2010 and March 31, 2013.
The total length of roads in Kerala and Karnataka, excluding Bangalore, is 3,70,000 km. The two states, Ramesh said, spent a total of Rs 15,000 crore on asphalting and maintenance of roads. “The money spent by the BBMP on the City’s road should be listed as the eighth wonder of the world,” he said, sarcastically.
He squarely blamed former Additional Commissioner V P Ikkeri, former engineer-in-chief B T Ramesh and former chief engineer of the BBMP Chikkarayappa for “overspending” on roads. He demanded a thorough inquiry into what is seen by many as a road scam.
Ramesh said that recently a road contractor submitted bills of the money spent in Anekal taluk! (which is outside the BBMP limits) He also emphasised on the GIS-based Road History Register to keep tabs on embezzlement in the name of asphalting road.
The Leader of Opposition, M K Gunashekar (Congress), highlighted the gross violation of National Building Code, which might invite major accidents similar to the Kolkata fire mishap.
“Commercial buildings and hospitals should have parking lot in the basement. Ignoring it is against the Town Planning Rule. The fire brigade also had objected to building plan violations in many structures,” said Gunashekar.
Taking part in the discussion, JD(S) Floor Leader R Prakash demanded the proper utilisation of the mechanical sweeping machines in the City.
Mayor D Venkatesh Murthy approved the BBMP budget with an outlay of Rs 8,521.1 crore, which is an increase of Rs 54 lakh.
After deliberating on the budget for three days, the ruling BJP in the council passed it. The changes in the grants and certain works were made following suggestions by corporators during the discussion. Previously, the size of the budget was Rs 8,520.56 crore, which was revised.
Before the budget was passed, the BBMP commissioner replied to the suggestions and objections raised by corporators. However, the Congress corporators were not satisfied with the reply and staged a walkout.