The financial condition of the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) is precarious. Given this state, it appears that not much development work will be taken up in the city this fiscal.

In an internal circular, Commissioner M.K. Shankarlinge Gowda has cautioned officials that they should not consider funds earmarked in the budget as allocations. The BBMP has only released grants for ward-level works — Rs. 2 crore for old wards and Rs. 3 crore for new wards.

Before utilising the funds earmarked, the department heads are required to recommend the work and bring it to the notice of the Commissioner. The details pertaining to the work should be submitted to the Standing Committee for Finance and Taxation and any other related panel. Other than salaries and unavoidable expenses, all works will have to be approved by the Commissioner and the Standing Committees.

Recently, Mr. Gowda had revealed in the BBMP council that the financially-starved civic body was on the verge of defaulting on interest repayment to the tune of Rs. 750 crore. He had said that if the civic body failed to repay the amount by the end of this month, all its bank accounts would be frozen.

He also said that while approving the 2011-12 budget, the State Government had issued some directions to the BBMP. He said the Government had directed the BBMP not to take up any new project. The BBMP could only take up projects that were urgent after December, once the financial condition stabilised a little. It was also directed not to default on depositing library cess, beggary cess and education cess with the respective departments, and not to expect any grant from the State Government.

The Government has also directed the BBMP to collect taxes and cesses diligently. Mr. Gowda on Thursday directed the authorities of the health, town planning and market departments to mobilise revenue by collecting all dues. He directed the market authorities to achieve the target revenue of Rs. 52 crore from rents. The BBMP has so far collected only Rs. 19 crore. The town planning wing has only earned Rs. 60 crore from building licence fee, ground rent, registration fee and other forms of fee, against the target of Rs. 105 crore, while the health wing has collected Rs. 6 crore against the target of Rs. 94 crore.

The zonal officials have been directed to prepare programme of works to utilise ward-level grants and prioritise pothole filling, desilting of stormwater drains, rainwater harvesting and other emergency works.

Mr. Gowda has directed officials to intensify the drive to disconnect unauthorised optic fibre cables (OFCs). Following this, the BBMP officials have disconnected 32,341 mof unauthorised OFC network. Though the civic body has fixed a monthly ground rent of Rs. 120 per km, the companies have approached the High Court seeking its reduction.

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