What your Councillor asked at the budget session

The BBMP budget was presented on 18 August, the discussions on budget went on for four days – from August 23-26. Some opposition leaders raised their points and asked for clarifications during the session. There were no official responses were given on the same day. The voting on the budget will be held on Saturday, September 3.

BBMP budget discusion in progress. Pic: Yogaraj S Mudalgi

Congress councillor M Nagaraj (Nandini Layout Ward 43), who was the opposition leader last year

Allocation is not equal for all wards; some have too many works proposed and others few. Many works proposed in last year’s budget was not done, why? Departments like Forest are given more allocation while there are not enough employees to get the works done.

The budget itself is unrealistic – revenue from Optical Fibre Cables (OFC) etc cannot be mobilised this year. Women corporators should get extra ward grants in addition to the current allocation (allocation is Rs 2 cr for old wards and 3 cr for new wards); since Mayor is a woman she should support women corporators.

There are no schemes for women empowerment this year. Allocation for health is low. There are many complaints on food adulteration – field officers should hold frequent inspections. A report on these cases and their progress should be submitted. There should be more clarity on welfare schemes like housing, as to how many people will benefit and when they will be completed. Last year’s scheme to give tailoring machines to women did not take off.

Kempegowda museum should be further developed. A statue of Kempe Gowda should be built in front of Vidhan Soudha and Rs 10 cr should be granted for this.

As allocation for road works is high, experts should be brought in to check their quality. Officers who come to BBMP on deputation should be sent back to their parent department after 3 years, but this is not done. People who work as temporary employees are also allowed to continue. New positions are created, only to accommodate some people.

Congress councillor Gunashekhar (Jayamahal – ward 63

Extra ward grants should be given for women councillors. Why did BBMP not receive state government grants and JNNURM funds as per budget last year?

Bills like Sakrama, and other local governance bills are not being passed by state government. District Planning Committee to co-ordinate local bodies in the district has also not been approved. These should be first discussed in the Council and then passed by government.

Many works in this budget are spillover from last year. Road widening works are pending for long, distressing people along these stretches. They are unable to do anything with their property. Alternatives to road widening should be considered. RMP (Revised Master Plan) should be discussed again, Council should fix a special session for this.

Public opinion was not considered while preparing the budget. Budget planning should be done at ward level. There is imbalance in infrastructure – for eg., there are 2-3 swimming pools in one ward, none in the next. New zones have lower fund allocation.

There should be clarity on the sources for grants and loans and whether there is assurance that these will be received.

There should be grants for pedestrian safety systems like barricades. Link statistics department with project planning, so that Statistics dept can give data before planning. Tenders should be published in all newspapers instead of only 1-2 papers, to avoid disputes.

 

BJP leader B R Nanjudappa (JP Garden – ward 17)

BJP leader B R Nanjudappa speaking at the budget session. Pic: Yogaraj S Mudalgi

Markets should be maintained better. For example, the 2nd floor of KR Market is empty. Why cant it be let out and revenue generated for BBMP?

BBMP has been making claims about planting 4-5 lakh trees every year. Where are they planting them? If the claims made were true, Bangalore would have been run out of space for planting trees.

The outer wards do not have any parks or playgrounds. As the layouts are developing, BBMP should ensure that Horticulture department will take necessary steps to develop parks and playgrounds.

M Udayshankar, Congress leader (Siddapura – ward 144)

Opposition leader M Udayshankar came down heavily on the BBMP at the budget discussion. Pic: Yogaraj S Mudalgi

Udayshankar asked why extravagant sums of money was spent on glossy coloured paper for the budget brochure. "Why was orange used? Why couldn’t it have been in plain white? Many corners like these could have been cut."

BBMP is expanding its limit at a tremendous rate. Many wards are being created and basic amenities such as drinking water, sanitation, roads are not provided in many of them. Why is BBMP approving new wards without ensuring that basic amenities could be provided in all?

Shankar said that last year BBMP generated only 41 % of the revenue they had proposed in that year’s budget. They had cited that due to absence of standing committee, they did not propose the budget on time (it is supposed to be introduced in February.) This budget too has been delayed by several months. By the time it is approved by the state government it will be October and will be left with only five months to reach the target. Why was the budget introduced so late? This time the standing committee was in place on time.

Last year, BBMP projected the revenue form hoardings to be 120 crores but generated only 10 crores. This year they have projected that to 150 crores. Is this realistic? The budget should project revenue based on facts, not whims.

About Navya P K 241 Articles

Navya P K is a former senior staff journalist at Citizen Matters, and a freelance journalist based in Kerala.

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