'Failure to duly tax OFCs, hoardings cost BBMP dear'

'Failure to duly tax OFCs, hoardings cost BBMP dear'

The BBMP has been losing huge revenue as officials have failed to duly tax optical fibre cables (OFCs), mobile phone towers and advertisement hoardings, some corporators alleged. 

Senior corporators, both of ruling and opposition parties, raised the matter at the BBMP council meeting on Monday. Opposition party leader Padmanabha Reddy said that since 2015, the BBMP hadn’t provided details of the number of authorised hoardings in the city. 

“I have been asking for these details for a long time now but there has been absolutely no response. This shows the negligent attitude of BBMP officials. Interestingly, 264 teams were formed in 2015 to determine the number of illegal hoardings in each ward. But no data has been made available to this day,” Reddy said. 

Former mayor B S Satyanarayana gave an example of the revenue loss. “I remember Rs 63 lakh was once spent to remove illegal hoardings, but just Rs 2.66 lakh was collected in penalties. There has never been any explanation for this huge gap.” 

M K Gunashekar, the Congress corporator from Jayamahal, said BBMP officials also failed to duly tax companies laying OFCs. “Officials have failed to enforce orders. We called multiple meetings under Additional Chief Secretary (Urban Development) Mahendra Jain and former Bengaluru Development Minister K J George with telecom companies and others using OFCs. But the companies didn’t care to abide by the rules.” Officials, too, failed to act against them, he added. “There is no data on how much revenue can be generated from OFCs or the penalty levied on offenders, Gunashekar said. He claimed that 311 potholes had surfaced in 2016 because of OFCs, but no firm was ever penalised. Eventually, the potholes had to be filled from BBMP funds.”