Congress, BJP spar over ‘disparity’ in civic budget allocation

BJP councillors have demanded a white paper on allocation of funds for each ward.

BJP councillors have demanded a white paper on allocation of funds for each ward.   | Photo Credit: Sudhakara Jain

The State government has re-appropriated ₹564 crore

Pandemonium erupted in the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) council meeting on Saturday as councillors from the Congress and BJP accused each other of ‘disparity in fund allocation’ in the 2019-20 budget. The government has re-appropriated ₹564 crore and distributed it to wards represented by BJP councillors.

While the opposition BJP maintained that the re-appropriation set right the disparity, Congress councillors termed it as vendetta politics.

BJP councillors took objection and demanded a white paper on allocation for each ward. Opposition Leader Padmanabha Reddy claimed that the 102 wards represented by the BJP have been allocated a total of ₹654.98 crore while the 75 represented by Congress have got an allocation of ₹549.25 crore and the 14 represented by JD(S) have got ₹308.5 crore. “The average allocation for wards represented by BJP, Congress and JD(S) is ₹6.42 crore, ₹7.32 crore and ₹22.35 crore, respectively. That apart, Congress and JD(S) wards had got additional grants under different heads,” he said.

Shankar Math councillor M. Shivaraju pointed out that when S.P. Hemalatha, chairperson of the Standing Committee for Taxation and Finance, had presented the ₹11,645 crore budget, the opposition labelled it a bogus budget. However, the BJP government, after coming to power, approved the same budget. “The Commissioner had written to the Urban Development Department seeking the outlay to be brought down to ₹9,000 crore. If it was a bogus budget, the outlay should have been reduced,” he said.

Freeze on works

Several councillors, cutting across party lines, urged BBMP Commissioner B.H. Anil Kumar to ensure works that had been frozen be taken up again.

Former mayor Shanthakumari attributed this to procedural delays and the Model Code of Conduct that was in place ahead of the parliamentary polls. She said that many projects listed under Programme of Works for 2017-18 and 2018-19 have been frozen.

Jayamahal councillor M.K. Gunasekhar suggested that e-governance methods be adopted for fast clearance and tracking of files. Mayor Gangambike Mallikarjun suggested setting up of a single-window system for file approvals.

Mr. Anil Kumar said the procedures for file clearance and approvals would be simplified, and powers would be decentralised to ensure timely delivery of services. “A calendar of events will be issued along with the tenders so that a timeline is fixed for all approvals. We can only approve works after ascertaining fund availability,” he said.

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Printable version | Apr 8, 2020 12:08:14 PM |

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