BJP plotting to block Bengaluru development, says George

BJP plotting to block Bengaluru development, says George

Bengaluru Development Minister K J George, in the eye of the storm for some of the controversial infrastructure works like the steel flyover and white-topping of roads, says there are a set of people identified with the BJP who stall progress, tarnish Bengaluru's image and block investments.

In an interview with Rajashekara S of Deccan Herald, the minister — seeking re-election from the Sarvagna Nagar Assembly seat in the city — said Bengalureans would support the accomplishments of the Congress government and would help double its tally in the city. Excerpts:

DH: There is a feeling that the city's infrastructure is crumbling with each passing year. 

KJG: This is a propaganda by a group of people identified with the BJP. Their main agenda is to stall development and tarnish the city's image, thus hurting investments. A BJP Rajya Sabha member headed a task force during the B S Yeddyurappa government to improve the city infrastructure. They did not do anything. Now, when we are trying to improve, they are stalling the projects. They do not perform and never let others to work as well. They want the status quo to continue. The group has been working hard to divert investments coming into the city through sustained negative campaigning.

DH: The BJP organised the 'Save Bengaluru' campaign to highlight the worsening law and order situation and misgovernance. What have you got to say about that? 

KJG: It is again a joke. Everyone knows how the BJP had let the city down when it was in power. We're trying to bring back the city's lost glory with sustained focus and allocation of additional funds. We, including every Bengalurean, should save the city from the BJP. There was no single law and order situation in the past five years. Statistics show how the crime graph was high during the BJP's rule.

DH: The BJP says you're favouring a certain section of voters.

KJG: This only reflects the bankruptcy of ideas in the BJP. When they have nothing else to say, they play with communal and religious sentiments. I've never discriminated against anyone. It (the BJP’s attempt to play communal card) will not have any impact on the poll outcome.

DH: You are accused of taking up projects — be it the steel flyover or white-topping of road — without the people's consent.

KJG: The steel flyover was the idea of the BJP government. They began opposing by holding placards when we tried implementing their plan to ease the traffic congestion in a stretch. The government was never concerned about the placard protesters; we had to stop (the construction) due to the National Green Tribunal's intervention. We wanted to merge the steel flyover project with the proposed 100-km elevated corridor to ease the city's traffic congestion.

DH: The pathetic condition of the Bellandur Lake and the floods are adequate proof of the city's mismanagement.

KJG: The Bellandur Lake did not develop troubles overnight. Still, we've completed 80% of the sewage treatment plant (installation) work and will finish the remaining work in the second term. We have both long- and short-term plans (for the lake). We made a mistake by including certain people in the expert committee. One of the scientists says the lake caught fire. I'm sure he had colluded with the team working against Bengaluru's development. We've improved 300-km of stormwater drains against just 100 km in all these years. A further 400-k needs to be improved.

DH: There's growing citizen activism in the city in the past few years. Instead of giving a patient hearing to the voice of the people, the government is rigid on certain projects. Why?

KJG: While I welcome ideas and suggestions from citizens, they can't dictate to the government on doing their bidding. We have a democratic system. These activists should ensure that one of their representatives is elected.

DH: Why do you think the Congress should be voted to power again?

KJG: We are the only party with a vision for the city and the state at large. People are happy with our work. We propose to white-top the roads, take up waste to generate power in a big way, clean up lakes, improve drinking water (supply) and expand the green cover. We are working to provide housing for the poor.

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