The cash-strapped Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) has no funds to take up any development work. Yet, it seems to have funds to invest in a luxury sedan meant for Commissioner M.K. Shankarlinge Gowda.
The civic body has booked the car with a car dealer on Residency Road. The diesel car, which is estimated to cost over Rs. 9 lakh, will be delivered in a week's time. This will be a second car for Mr. Shankarlinge Gowda since he uses a luxury sports utility vehicle.
Sources in the BBMP said that the new car will be a “reserve vehicle” and will be used during “emergency”. “Previous commissioners have used more than two cars. There is nothing wrong in booking another car for the commissioner, who will have to inspect all the 198 wards,” they said and added that Mr. Shankarlinge Gowda had asked for a second vehicle.
However, this has drawn criticism from a section of the BBMP staff. “What was the need to invest in another car when the civic body is in debt? No development work has been taken up due to scarcity of funds. Even the commissioner has conceded that the BBMP was financially weak,” an official said.
Janata Dal(S) Floor Leader in the BBMP Council Padmanabha Reddy questioned the need for another car for the commissioner. “Mr. Shankarlinge Gowda should decide if this ‘unnecessary expenditure' at this point of time is really in the interest of the BBMP and if it is absolutely essential. He is the custodian of the tax payers' money,” he said.
However, Mr. Shankarlinge Gowda justified the move stating that he was entitled for an “official car”.
“The other car will be used during inspections. There is nothing illegal about booking another car,” he said.