With the condition of roads deteriorating rapidly on account of the recent spate of rains and shoddy infrastructure work, several councillors across party lines urged Mayor M. Gautham Kumar and Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) Commissioner B.H. Anil Kumar to tackle potholes on a war footing. At the BBMP council meeting on Thursday, they recommended stringent action against contractors and civic officials who fail to perform their duties.
After the meeting, the Mayor announced that contractors who failed to fix potholes on roads that they have to maintain for three years under the defects liability period will be blacklisted if they don’t meet the November 10 deadline. “We will suspend the engineers concerned and blacklist contractors if the potholes are not filled by November 10,” said Mr. Gautham Kumar, adding that he will inspect roads from November 2. “I have written to all city MLAs and councillors to work together with engineers to inform, identify, and fill potholes in Bengaluru.”
Earlier, on October 22, the Mayor and Commissioner had declared that roads would be free of potholes by November 10.
Meanwhile, during the council meeting, Opposition Leader Abdul Wajid accused the State government of ignoring areas represented by Congress and JD(S) councillors and MLAs. “Mahadevapura has received the most grants because many representatives — MPs, MLAs and councillors — are from the ruling BJP. However, even there, people had to protest for basic infrastructure,” he said.
He alleged that Chief Minister, who also holds charge of Bengaluru, has not delivered. “It has been over three months since the BJP came to power. Apart from one round of the city, his work and contribution is zero,” he said.
Later, councillors demanded that ₹10 crore in medical grants be released immediately.
The Mayor said, “Over ₹16 crore of medical grant is pending along with over 1,600 applications. We will make sure everything is cleared soon.”
Official pulled up over providing tax rebate
Joint Commissioner (East) G.M. Ravindra was questioned by councillors for allegedly providing tax rebate to eight properties, including a few star hotels. This, they claimed, had negatively impacted BBMP’s revenues.
“The joint commissioner has exceeded his limits. He should take back the order and declare the rebates null and void,” Congress councillor M.K. Gunashekar said.
Commissioner B.H. Anil Kumar has instructed the Special Commissioner (Finance) to look into the matter, and submit a report. “We will take appropriate action based on the report,” said Mr. Kumar
Stronger legal cell on the cards
The Mayor on Thursday suggested having a stronger legal cell. “The BBMP has repeatedly failed to represent itself strongly in courts. The High Court has time and again come down heavily on us. We need well-known names to fight our cases effectively in courts. There is an urgent need to build a strong and robust legal cell. If the situation arises, we will fire officers and hire new ones,” he said.