After the furore over an “unrealistic” Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) budget and Opposition members' concerns over revenue falling short of projections, the BBMP meeting on Tuesday saw several councillors cutting across party lines mooting proposals to increase revenue collection that ranged from imposing additional taxes on serviced apartments and private hospitals to organising “khata melas”.
Shankar Math councillor Shivaraju and Kengeri councillor Anjanappa said the civic authority could organise “khata mela.” They claimed that the BBMP would be able to collect a lot of revenue by organising such a mela.
V.V. Puram councillor S. Anil Kumar said that serviced apartments that had mushroomed across the city must also be included in the commercial tax bracket. “It is a commercial venture. The owners charge anywhere from Rs. 50,000 to Rs. 1 lakh a month. These apartments must be taxed accordingly,” he said.
Guruppanapalya councillor Rizwan said that even paying guest accommodations, private hospitals and nursing homes must be brought under the commercial tax bracket. “If we bring them under this bracket, the BBMP will be able to increase its revenue collection,” he said.
N. Nagaraj, Byrasandra councillor, stressed on the need for a single window system for approval of tenders. He said that while the budget is forwarded to the Government for approval, the BBMP engineers can be ready with the estimates for the various works and float tenders for the same. “After the Government accords approval to the budget, the Commissioner may clear the tenders through the single window system,” he said.
Gandhinagar councillor S. Nataraj said that the BBMP must drop the proposal to construct a multi-storeyed parking complex at Sirur Park.
Mayor S.K. Nataraj had a tough time moderating the discussions. Given the paucity of time, each councillor was given about 10 minutes. Instead of discussing the budget, several greenhorns and a few seasoned councillors chose to discuss their ward-level issues, such as lack of a proper underground drainage system, corroded water pipes, pig menace and improper solid waste management.
Finally, Mr. Nataraj said, “This is a meeting to discuss the budget. Please reserve discussions on problems in your wards to the monthly meeting. This is not the right forum to raise them.”