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BBMP may have to focus on resource mobilisation

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Afshan Yasmeen

Civic body gets only Rs. 250 crore from the Government

BANGALORE: With the State Government having allocated just Rs. 250 crore for the city, the development of Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) now seems to depend more on resource mobilisation by the civic body. In other words, Bangaloreans should get ready to pay more taxes and levies, which the BBMP is likely to announce in its budget.

The allocation, exactly half of the Rs. 500 crore sought by BBMP, is apart from the annual grants the civic body is entitled to get under the devolution of funds from the State Finance Commission (SFC). The BBMP, which got Rs. 120 crore last year from the SFC, is expecting more than Rs. 250 crore this year.

But even this may not be enough to meet the administrative expenses, including salaries. After the formation of BBMP, the State Government has sanctioned 1,106 new posts raising the BBMP staff strength to 15,106.

With the BBMP's jurisdiction having increased to 741 sq km, the State Government has allocated Rs. 30 crore to upgrade roads in each of the five new zones, Rs. 50 crore for construction of nine overpasses and Rs. 50 crore for constructing a grade separator from BDA Circle on Sankey Road to Minsk Square on Cubbon Road.

Bonds

"We are grateful to the Government for having made the special allocation. Though we had requested Rs. 500 crore, this is a fairly good allocation," BBMP Commissioner K. Jairaj told The Hindu.

Admitting that it would not suffice, he said the civic body would float municipal bonds to raise money. "We will spell out the strategies in our budget to be presented in the next 10 days."

Special Commissioner Gaurav Gupta pointed out that this was for the first time that the State Government had made allocations outside the SFC grants.

"We have every reason to be happy. The Government has considered our request for special funds to develop the new areas. We are now fine-tuning our budget."

But non-governmental organisations and civic organisations opposed to the formation of BBMP term the Government's allocation as eyewash.

"It will make a difference if the funds for roads are actually spent on providing connectivity in the new areas and not on the Inner Core Ring Road or other main roads. Basic amenities such as drinking water, sanitation and roads should be taken up on priority in the new areas rather than construction of overpasses," Vinay Baindur, an independent consultant on local issues, pointed out.

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