Nagesh Prabhu

Those coming under constituencies of JD(S) legislators have got more funds

Ramanagara and Shikaripura Assembly constituencies have got Rs. 3 crore and Rs. 2.5 crore respectively BJP members sore over allocation of funds The issue of inadequate allocation of funds to local bodies was raised in the legislature

BANGALORE: What appears to be a glaring discrimination has come to light in the release of funds to 112 urban local bodies by the Urban Development Department, which is under Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy himself.

The department last month released Rs. 47.37 crore of special grants earmarked by the State Finance Commission to the local bodies for 2005-06. The funds were released to undertake drinking water supply works and new works in areas coming under the jurisdiction of the urban local bodies.

Though going by the textbook, in a Cabinet system of government, the Chief Minister is only primus inter pares (first among equals) it is not so when it comes to Ramanagara Assembly constituency represented by Mr. Kumaraswamy. The Chief Minister's constituency is above all others. Next in the pecking order comes Shikaripura, the constituency of Deputy Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa. The Urban Development Department has released the two most favoured constituencies Rs. 3 crore and Rs. 2.5 crore respectively.

It is noteworthy that a majority (65) of the 112 city and town municipalities and town panchayats have been granted only Rs. 25 lakh each as grants. Thirty-seven others get Rs. 50 lakh each, five Rs. 75 lakh each and two Rs. 1 crore each. The Hiriyur town municipality represented in the Assembly by Janata Dal (S) leader D. Manjunath gets Rs. 37 lakh.

The department has released Rs. 1 crore each to the Mandya CMC and Holenarasipura TMC. M. Srinivas and former Public Works Minister H.D. Revenna, who is the elder brother of the Chief Minister, represent Mandya and Holenarasipura respectively in the Assembly.

The Jewargi Town Panchayat, which is represented by Leader of the Opposition in the Assembly N. Dharam Singh, gets Rs. 50 lakh.

The issue of inadequate allocation of funds to local bodies was raised during the recent special session of the legislature. The Congress members staged a dharna in the House alleging that the Chief Minister was indifferent to their constituencies in the matter of release of funds. Congress member and former Minister D.K. Shivakumar demanded that the Government implement projects in their constituencies and fulfil an assurance given by Chief Minister in the last session of the House.

In reply, Mr. Kumaraswamy said that he would hold a meeting of officials on June 13 and 14 and make an attempt to address their grievances.

The BJP members too have been discreetly expressing their displeasure stating that the Government had released less funds to their constituencies compared to those represented by Janata Dal (S) members.

The urban local bodies coming under the JD (S) constituencies have been granted greater funds. Sums of Rs. 75 lakh each have been released to Hunsur TMC (G.T. Deve Gowda), Arakalgud Town Panchayat (A.T. Ramaswamy), Belur Town Panchayat (H.K. Kumaraswamy), Birur TMC (S.L. Dharme Gowda), Hoovina Hadagali (M.P. Prakash) and Channarayapanta TMC (C.S.Putte Gowda).

In Tumkur district, seven out of the eight local bodies get Rs. 50 lakh each and Tumkur city municipality Rs. 25 lakh.

In Mandya district, five out of six local bodies get Rs. 50 lakh each and Mandya city municipality Rs. 1 crore.

In Shimoga district, Shikaripura (Rs. 2.5 crore) outscores Shimoga city municipality which has to be content with Rs. 50 lakh only. The Hubli-Dharwad City Municipal Council, one of the major local bodies in the State, has been allocated Rs. 50 lakh.

The department has directed that the funds should be utilised according to the guidelines laid down by the State Finance Commission and the works be approved by the Deputy Commissioner concerned.

An order issued by the Urban Development Department has stated that development works should be taken up as per the Karnataka Transparency Public Procurement (KTPP) Act, 1999 and the elected representatives must produce certificates for the use of funds.