‘Civic authority has just six months to implement projects’

Ripping the ruling BJP’s gargantuan Rs. 9,498.90-crore budget apart, Opposition Leader in the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike Council M.K. Gunashekar said that it is unlikely that any programmes and projects in the budget will take off. Speaking about the budget for nearly four hours during the budget session here on Monday, he said that the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) will have just six months to implement the various projects.

He said that the BBMP’s achievement in implementing the previous two budgets was just around 40 per cent. “This year may not be different. While approving the previous year’s budget, the Government had directed the civic body to follow the Karnataka Municipal Corporations Act, 1976, and present it in time. However, the government direction, rules and regulations stipulated under KMC Act and Karnataka Local Fund Authorities Fiscal Responsibilities Act 2003, have all been flouted,” he said.

Poor credit rating

Mr. Gunashekar also questioned the BBMP’s move to float municipal bonds to raise Rs. 1,000 crore. Stating that the proposal was impractical, he said the BBMP’s credit rating was poor. “The BBMP’s credit rating is BBB, which means it is a weak financial profile and project implementation abilities and high dependence on government grants. When this is the case, who would want to invest in the BBMP? Also, who will be the guarantor? The BBMP had to mortgage three buildings as the Government refused to be the guarantor for the loans from Housing and Urban Development Corporation Ltd.,” he said.

He targeted the Government for not better equipping the civic authority before increasing its jurisdiction. He blamed the Government for leaving the BBMP high and dry, without granting funds to manage the show. This was one of the reasons for the BBMP’s heavy borrowing, he said.

Uncertain polity

Given the internal conflict within the BJP at the State level, even the Assembly could be dissolved. “If (there is no Government), where will the BBMP get funds from? Also, elections will have to be held and code of conduct will be in place, so all projects and works will come to a standstill,” he said. Mr. Gunashekar sought to know how the tax was being levied on the Bangalore Turf Club in the city. He suggested that the BBMP Council adopt a resolution to include Electronic City and Bengaluru International Airport in its jurisdiction and send it for government approval. “This will bring in much-needed revenue into the financially-starved BBMP,” he added.

Earlier, Ruling Party Leader N. Nagaraju praised the budget and the various “pro-people” schemes that it had.

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