Paid parking policy being framed, same old projects feature once again
The Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike’s (BBMP) budget for 2013-14 with an outlay of Rs. 8,250.56 crore, presented on Friday, does not seem to offer any real solutions to solve the city’s multiple problems.
Burning issues such as traffic congestion, poor road quality and solid waste management get a mere nod in the budget presented by Mayor D. Venkatesh Murthy. Most projects such as signal-free corridors, grade separators, junction improvements and elevated corridors mentioned are just a repeat appearance. The budget has proposed to bring back paid parking and a policy is being framed in this direction by the BBMP, in consultation with the Directorate of Urban Land Transport.
The opposition parties flayed the budget, whose outlay is smaller than the previous three years’ (see Page 2), saying it “lacked vision” and failed to address the city’s rising infrastructure problems.
However, the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party in the BBMP council maintained that it gives impetus to infrastructure, solid waste management, health and welfare schemes. The budget appeared to be banking on Rs. 1,732 crore in government grants to fund various development projects.
Various projects, including road-related works and underground drainage systems, entailing Rs. 2,128.03 crore have been proposed under Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) Transitional Phase. Some of the projects proposed include eight-lane corridor at Okalipuram junction, elevated road from Minerva Circle to Hudson Circle, skywalks at Hudson Circle and Mysore Bank Circle.
Taking into cognisance the poor quality of roads, Rs. 300 crore has been set aside for asphalting selected roads in the city. That apart, Rs. 50 crore has been reserved for arterial and sub-arterial roads. The BBMP has earmarked Rs. 30 crore for 200 main junctions.
The BBMP appeared to be confident in collecting Rs. 3,200 crore in property taxes this year, compared to the Rs. 1,200 crore last fiscal. It proposed to enlist civil engineering students of Bangalore University to take up verification of commercial buildings. Simplifying the tax payment process, the BBMP has tied up with banks to make it easier for citizens to pay tax.
Opposition councillors pointed out that the BBMP has a success rate of less than 50 per cent of proposals in previous budgets. For instance, its 2012-13 budget outlay was Rs. 9,937 crore but the total receipts added up to only Rs. 4,689 crore. With just eight months left in the current fiscal, the councillors said this time too it would be no different.
Mayor Murthy insisted it was a “realistic” budget, prepared keeping in mind the BBMP’s precarious financial health. The budget discussions have been scheduled on Monday and Tuesday, following which it would be sent to the government for approval.