Cong mocks BJP after white-topping clean chit

The BJP government appointed the Doddihal panel to probe allegations of corruption in white-topping roadworks. DH FILE PHOTO

Bolstered by the report of a state government panel that there was no financial misappropriation in white-topping roadworks during its rule, the Congress on Monday tried to turn the tables on the BJP. 

Abdul Wajid, the opposition leader in the BBMP, held a press conference to lap up the report submitted by a five-member committee headed by Captain R R Doddihal. B S Yediyurappa had formed the committee on August 22, weeks after taking office as chief minister. The committee’s brief was to investigate the allegations of corruption in the white-topping and TenderSURE roadworks under phases 1 and 2 during the tenures of Siddaramaiah and H D Kumaraswamy as chief minister, respectively. 

The committee submitted the report last month, ruling out any financial misappropriation in the project, although it said that the cost could be reduced. 

Wajid said the chief minister should have “thought long and hard” before ordering a probe by the committee. “Yediyurappa has been the chief minister four times and has headed a cabinet of seasoned ministers,” he said. “Still, he chose to believe a BJP worker that public money was wasted on the white-topping roadworks. The probe exercise itself was a waste of money.” 

The BBMP is white-topping, or concretising, hundreds of kilometres of the road network to improve the city’s physical infrastructure. But the works were stalled soon after the BJP came to power. 

Wajid also criticised the BJP government for its estimation that asphalting, or black-topping roads, is costlier than white-topping. He said that under the under Smart Cities Mission programme, the government has finalised the black-topping of 36 roads under two phases. The project is to cost Rs 14-15 crore per km. “It actually costs Rs 4 crore more than white-topping. How is that possible? The chief minister must apologise to the public,” Wajid demanded. 

The Congress corporator also slammed the ongoing bus priority lane project. He suggested that the BJP-ruled BBMP was building the bus priority lane without floating tenders. This means the work has been assigned to existing contractors. “But the contractors mentioned by the BBMP are not aware that such a work has been assigned to them. There is something fishy about all this, which must be probed,” he added. 

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