The State government on Monday informed the Legislative Council that an investigation would be conducted into the alleged multi-crore fake bill scam in three engineering divisions of the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP).
The government’s promise came during a discussion on the recent rain havoc initiated by Tara, in which other members made references to release of funds to the palike by the government and alleged misuse of funds. Leader of the House and IT & BT Minister S.R. Patil, replying on behalf of the Chief Minister, said that the government would get the fake bill scam investigated.
Ms. Tara said the 109-mm rain that lashed the city on May 31 was the highest in the recent years and caused much havoc. The situation deteriorated due to poorly maintained drainage system, she said and urged the government not only to get storm-water drains cleared but also to revive tanks.
Joining her, Janata Dal(S) floor leader M.C. Nanaiah said the problem has been in existence for over 15 years. The Gali Anjaneya Temple on Mysore Road gets flooded whenever it rains heavily. He questioned Leader of the Opposition D.V. Sadananda Gowda’s claim of the BJP government having released over Rs. 16,000 crore to the palike and said that all the money appeared to have washed away in the drains.
At this juncture he brought out the fake bill scam in the Rs. 1,539 crore projects in the engineering divisions of Gandhinagar, Malleswaram and Rajarajeshwari Nagar. By changing the commissioners, the administration would not improve, he said and wanted a reply from the Chief Minister himself. Deputy Chairperson Vimala Gowda too narrated the rain-related woes of the common people.
In his written reply, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah explained the various steps taken by the palike to fight rain havoc, including remodelling storm-water drains and removing silt from shoulder drains, etc. A mega storm-water drain improvement scheme is in the offing, he said.
Replying on behalf of the Chief Minister, Mr. Patil said the government would seek opinion from the Advocate-General about cancelling/ modifying the land lease agreement with the Indian Gymkhana Club in Cox Town.
The legal opinion is necessary in view of an earlier Supreme Court decision in the matter, which said the government cannot interfere when the currency of the lease period, he said.
Janata Dal(S) member Basavaraja Horatti raised the issue saying that residents of Cox Town and surrounding areas are deprived of playground and walking space. Though the government wanted to take back 3 acres and 24 guntas of land out of 4 acres and 28 guntas of land in 1994, the Supreme Court had held that the government cannot interfere during the lease period.
Thought the palike recommended in 2008, after the expiry of the lease period, not to extend the lease, the then Chief Minister decided to extend the lease for 35 years, the member said and termed it against public interest.
Mr. Nanaiah too joined Mr. Horatti and demanded cancellation of the lease in respect of 3 acres and 24 guntas. Ms. Vimala Gowda urged the government to collect Rs. 1.4 crore rent a year from the club for 1 acre and 4 guntas as against Rs. 60,000 a year per acre fixed by the government.