Though their term ended on April 23, chairpersons of 12 standing committees continue to enjoy office privileges
The Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) has earned the notoriety of incurring unnecessary expenditure while it is known to be in a financially unstable condition. It has now emerged that the civic body has taken no steps to check one such expenditure that is being incurred by the 12 standing committees.
Though the term of the 12 standing committees ended on April 23, the chairpersons continue to use their office privileges, including official car and staff. This is causing a huge financial drain. According to sources, the BBMP is spending nearly Rs. 1 crore every month just on these 12 standing committees.
This has come under sharp criticism, even from the councillors of the Ruling Party (BJP) itself. A councillor, on condition of anonymity, told The Hindu that the council section should have locked the offices and seized the vehicles from the standing committee chairpersons soon after their term ended. According to Section 10(2) of the Karnataka Municipal Corporations Act, 1976, the term of the standing committees is only for one year. The councillor added that the same argument also applied to the Deputy Mayor, as the High Court had reserved its judgment on the reservation issue only for the Mayor’s post.
With their one-year term ending, the committees have no powers to conduct meetings, discuss subjects and undertake inspections. “Earlier, once the term ended, the chairpersons would themselves vacate their premises, while the council section would take over the vehicles and depute the staff elsewhere. Why has the BBMP not done this so far to curb the unnecessary expenditure?” the councillor said.
However, the standing committee chairpersons are not keen on giving up their privileges just yet. They have objected to the Mayor convening a subject meeting on August 5. Their contention is that since the Mayor and Deputy Mayor are continuing in their posts, they too should be allowed to. They want the subjects to be first approved by the respective committees before being tabled in the BBMP council. Sources said this had already been communicated to the Mayor and the Commissioner.
Mayor D. Venkatesh Murthy told The Hindu that the subject meeting would be held according to the schedule.
“The last subject meeting was held in March. Several projects are stuck since the subject meetings have not been held since then.” He also said that according to the KMC Act, any subject that had been pending before the standing committee for more than 60 months may be tabled before the council directly. “In any case, I have urged the Commissioner to look into the legalities of the issue.”
He, however, was critical about the committees wanting to approve the subjects now. “What were they doing for the past three months? Why did they not want to look at the subjects then? They have done nothing but enjoy their privileges,” he said.