Concentrate on revenue generation, cut down unnecessary expenditure and work towards making Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) debt-free.
This was the advice veterans — all former Mayors — gave the incumbent, D. Venkatesh Murthy, here on Monday.
Mr. Murthy had invited 12 of his predecessors to pick their brains.
The nine who attended the meeting emphasised reduction of the debt burden and suggested that the BBMP turn to the State Government for help.
They also objected to the BBMP's proposal to offer public property as collateral for loans.
K. Lakkanna, whose tenure was during 1992-93, suggested that the BBMP put on hold works that were not emergencies. “Allocation to old wards that are developed can be brought down till there is improvement in finances.” He suggested that part of the road tax collected by the Transport Department through the Regional Transport Office could be given to the BBMP, which creates and maintains road infrastructure in the city.
Cess on parking
J. Huchchappa (1997-98) suggested levying of tax/ cess on vehicles parked on roads and footpaths across the city. “The BBMP must not permit new apartment complexes and malls. With the increase in the number of multi-storeyed apartment complexes, drinking water shortage has been aggravated,” he claimed.
P.R. Ramesh (2003-04) pointed out that revenue generation should be prioritised. “In 2009-10, BBMP borrowed over Rs. 1,000 crore. In both 2010-11 and 2011-12, it was Rs. 700 crore. This year again, the BBMP offered three buildings as collateral for loans of over Rs. 1,000 crore. This repeated borrowing has raised doubts among citizens about its financial health.” He suggested that the BBMP approach the State government to increase the State Finance Corporation funds to the civic body, as the city contributes around Rs. 60,000 crore to the exchequers of both the Union and State governments.
K.H.N. Simha (1998-99) stressed the need to plant saplings to retain the Garden City tag. While appreciating the BBMP's efforts in this direction, M. Ramachandrappa (1999-2000) sought to know where the saplings were being planted. Pointing out to the “poor planning” by officials, he said after the roads are widened, footpaths are created over drains. “For example, take Hosur Road and C.V. Raman Avanue (Mehkri Circle to Yeshwanthpur). Where is the space to plant trees?”
B.V. Putte Gowda (1986-87) urged officials not to bow down to political pressure and keep tabs on the quality of works executed.
Padmavathy Gangadhar Gowda (1996-97) spoke of the need to strengthen the Animal Birth Control programme in the light of the increase in dog menace.
K. Chandrashekar (2001-02), Hanumanthnagar councillor; former mayor Sharadamma; Ruling Party Leader N. Nagaraju; and chairperson of Standing Committee for Taxation and Finance Muneendra Kumar were present.
Mayor Venkatesh Murthy pointed out that BBMP's loans were availed of during his predecessors' tenures and said he would ensure no new buildings are pledged to bail out the civic authority from its huge debt burden.