The Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike is incurring a Rs.1 crore loss every month, thanks to a scam in handing over of fishing rights and illegal fishing at Ulsoor lake, M. Udayshankar, Opposition Leader in the BBMP Council has alleged.

Addressing presspersons here on Friday, he said this was merely one case. There may be several similar cases at other lakes, draining the BBMP of the revenue due to it.

He said the BBMP had first called for tenders for fishing rights at Ulsoor lake on August 28, 2008. Seven agencies participated in the tender and the Dr. Ambedkar Souharda Labour Contract Cooperative Ltd. was the highest bidder, quoting Rs. 6.66 lakh.

“However, according to a gazette notification dated February 16, 2006, the fishing rights should be given only by the Fisheries Department and not by the BBMP,” he said.

Another agency, the Bangalore District Fish Production, Processing and Marketing Cooperative Society Ltd., went to court and got a stay. On March 31, 2010, the court directed the BBMP to nullify the earlier tender and re-notify the fishing rights in the lake.

On October 16, 2010, the Dr. Ambedkar Souharda Labour Contract Cooperative Ltd. wrote to the BBMP Commissioner saying it had incurred a loss of Rs. 64 lakh as it had already started breeding fish in the lake. The issue went to the Legal Cell, which opined that it was not BBMP's responsibility to pay for the loss, nor was it mentioned in the tender conditions.

Curious turn

“Yet the Horticulture Superintendent (East) sent another proposal to the Legal Cell recommending compensation on January 13, 2011. This time, the Legal Cell said half the loss claimed may be disbursed to Dr. Ambedkar Souharda Labour Contract Cooperative Ltd. The BBMP even released Rs. 32 lakh!” Mr. Udayshankar said.

When the court had quashed the tender, how could the Dr. Ambedkar Souharda Labour Contract Cooperative Ltd. take up breeding? Also it had only paid Rs. 7,500 towards Earnest Money Deposit. “There is no proof that any fish breeding had actually taken place. How can the BBMP release the money?” he asked.

Illegal fishing

He alleged that for the past two years, illegal fishing was also taking place in the lake with 50 to 100 kg being fished every day. “The BBMP officials are hand-in-glove with these fishermen. The Commissioner must initiate disciplinary action against those involved. Also, a case on illegal trespassing under Section 374 of the Indian Penal Code should be booked,” he said.