In October 2021, Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai’s government announced a Rs.6,000 crore grant under the Amrut Nagarothana Scheme for Bengaluru. The Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) was entrusted with undertaking a slew of infrastructural development work across sectors like road infrastructure, lakes, stormwater drains, hospitals, etc.
Ahead of the assembly polls, the state and the BBMP budget allocations focused mainly on the development of physical infrastructure in the form of flyovers, reconstruction of roads, etc. The Amrut Nagarothana Scheme, also known as Mukyamantri Nagarothana or Nagarothana Yojane, was launched to improve infrastructure in the urban local bodies across Karnataka.
However, there is little to no data accessible to the public to track the projects that have been allocated thousands of crores.
In the previous BBMP’s budget for 2022-23, Rs.23, 296.33 lakhs was estimated for works under Nagarathona, Rs.9,608 lakhs was utilised for on-going development work. As of December 2021, the actual spending stood at Rs.4,333 lakhs against the revised estimate of Rs.6,000 lakhs.
Further, the budget mentions that Mukyamantrigala Nava Bengaluru Yojane was renamed CM Nava Nagarothana.
Under Scheduled Castes, Sub-Allocation & Tribal-Sub Allocation (SC-SP/TSP) Mukyamantrigala Nava Bengaluru Yojane, a total of Rs.3, 777 lakhs was sanctioned.
Under the same scheme, Rs. 2, 413 lakhs was allocated for white-topping of select roads and roads that were being developed for 110 villages was allocated Rs 5,113 lakhs.
Additionally, under the same scheme, separate allocations were made for the construction of grade separators, the development of alternative roads under Outer Ring Road Companies Association, lakes, solid waste management, and the construction of buildings and hospitals. No new allocations have been made under the scheme in the recently announced BBMP budget for the current fiscal year (2023-24).
Projects under Nagarothana
A well-equipped multi-speciality hospital with four floors, including the ground floor has been constructed under the Nagarothana Yojana in Agrahara, Dasarahalli Ward, according to the BBMP Public Relations Office .
The current budget states that under the Amrut Nagarothana scheme, development of 2,146 kms of roads (including drainage), development of 67 lakes and 11 new parks, renovation of 15 existing parks, 42 new school buildings and renovation of 26 existing schools, construction of 40 new Primary Health Centres, and renovation work of 84 old Primary Centres have been undertaken.
It mentions that the renovation of BBMP schools in the form of the construction of new school buildings was undertaken under the Amrit Nagarothana scheme during 2022-23. The budget mentions Rs.20 crore was utilised in ensuring the buildings had all the basic facilities and classrooms were built in existing schools.
However, Citizen Matters earlier reported that an Action Taken Report (ATR), generated by the Finance Department of the State, did not offer any information about the development of these schools. “The ATR typically, at least, lists the relevant government order under which schemes have been undertaken. However, in this case, it merely says “action is being taken”, the report mentions.
Status of the projects
Ravindra PN, BBMP Special Commissioner (Projects), mentioned that work orders have been issued for 90% of the total 2,006 development projects by the Urban Development Department, GoK. “Work on the ground has taken off in all eight BBMP zones,” he says, implying that the Rs.6,000 crore grant is being utilised for work to be carried across various wings like road infrastructure, lakes, stormwater drains, solid waste management, etc.
Last January, Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai directed officials to hasten the completion of the ongoing infrastructure projects under CM Amrit Nagarothana Yojane by 2024.
According to Ravindra, work across each of the verticals is in various stages of progress. “No work has been completed yet,” he says, while directing me to track the individual progress of the work through the BBMP dashboard, which had no such details on these projects. The Chief Engineer of the Dasarahalli zone, who didn’t want to be named, mentions that they are not at liberty to disclose real-time data on the projects’ progress.
The BBMP website’s Tenders section was last updated for 2020-21. Tenders have been issued for “annual maintenance of arterial and sub-arterial roads, including desilting of roadside drains/near kerbs, corners, on footpaths and shoulder drains, including repairs to drains and re-levelling of formation of footpaths” and “maintenance of roads under flyovers and underpasses and conveying the Silt/Debris/Solid Waste/tree vegetation to approved locations within BBMP limits pertaining to Road Infrastructure.” However, none of them has been categorised for Nagarothana in this.
BBMP Chief Engineer M Lokesh mentions how while the projects are divided as per the BBMP zone, major projects are handled by the project’s central engineer, who is separate for road infrastructure, stormwater drains or solid waste management. As per the website, the Project Central Department “handles responsibilities that include road improvement works, white topping, registration of contractors, animal crematorium maintenance, and other MPED-related duties.” Details regarding the list of projects under this or the department’s roles and responsibilities are unavailable.
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Note: The original version of the article has been updated with inconsistencies removed.