Giving the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) administration ten days’ time to clear the 4,000-odd applications for medical grant that are still pending, Janata Dal (S) floor leader R. Prakash has once again threatened to go on an indefinite hunger strike if the deadline is not met.
Speaking to reporters here on Friday, he said he has been raising the issue of pending medical bills for many months now. “After I raised the issue during the council meeting, I was assured by Mayor B.S. Sathyanarayana that the applications would be cleared after December 4, after consulting the three councillors who are medical practitioners. However, nothing has progressed,” he said.
Mr. Prakash said the applicants, some of whom were counting on the grants to avail themselves of treatment, seem to be waiting in vain. “Some patients have passed away. These people are cursing the BBMP,” he charged.
Mr. Prakash said the BBMP’s finances were in dire straits. The civic body had failed to clear contractors’ pending bills amounting to Rs. 1,600 crore, pushing them to bankruptcy while one of the contractors even committed suicide, he said.
“Even Chief Minister Siddaramaiah stated during the Belgaum legislature session that given the BBMP’s financial state, the government was releasing Rs. 1,600 crore to the civic body to clear not just contractors’ bills, but also take up development works,” he said.
He said the BBMP was formed by former Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy and that the JD(S) was opposed to its division. “Division of the limits is not a solution to administrative problems. The solution lies in decentralising power and appointing IAS officials to head the different zones instead of KAS officials,” he said.
The former opposition leader M.K. Gunashekar had urged the Mayor to call for a special meeting to discus the proposal, which has not been scheduled yet. He said he was ready to lead a delegation to meet Mr. Siddaramaiah and explain their stand.