That sinking feeling in a BDA going bust

Scraping the bottom

That sinking feeling in a BDA going bust

 Tasked with the enormous job of conceiving and executing infrastructure  projects for Bangalore, the BDA’s finances have hit rock-bottom. So much so that instead of the BDA’s stated objective of urbanisation becoming a path to prosperity, it has now become a fancy word for penury.

And with a series of land scams that has bled its coffers, the BDA’s ability to take up infrastructure projects has come into question. Consider this: In the 2009-10 fiscal, the BDA estimated mobilising Rs 3,180.74 crore for expenditure but ended up collecting merely Rs 436.53 crore – a sluggish financial progress of only 13.72 per cent.

The same year, the Authority, whose land holdings have been grabbed or given away for a song to politicians of all hues and their relatives and associates, projected Rs 3,173.92 towards expenditure but could actually use only Rs 1,005.30 crore.

Worse, the authority resorted to pre-closure of its fixed deposits in various banks to make good the huge deficit (difference between income and expenditure) of Rs 568.77 crore as its revenue sources dried up.

Direct impact

Over the last few years, the BDA’s shrinking finances have had a direct impact on the infrastructure development of a city where the state government and the authority’s bureaucrats failed to tackle the the complexities of urbanisation.

For instance, in 2009-10, the BDA was forced to go back on its promise of releasing
Rs 77.50 crore to the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike and the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewarage Board as its contribution to take up road widening, water supply and sanitation projects in the civic body’s newly-added areas.

The BDA’s annual financial statement attributes the authority’s failure to contribute to the city’s civic amenities to “financial constraints”.

This dismal situation is disturbing because in 2004-05, the BDA grew in strength and earned a cumulative revenue of Rs 2,462 crore after the state government had planned winding it up barely in 1999 as it showed signs of turning moribund.

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