Oppn scoffs at BBMP 'midnight' projects

Reason? The BBMP’s parlous finances. “While we will adhere to the Court’s diktat, where will the BBMP get additional revenue to start the projects?” asked Opposition leader M Nagaraj of the Congress.

The Congress veteran believes that under the current circumstances, the BBMP coffers can spare no funds for the projects cleared by the HC. According to him, with a debt of Rs 3,000-odd crore and pending bills of over Rs 4,700 crore, the Palike  there is no possibility of fresh funds arriving to rescue the Palike.

“With only Rs 2,400 crore in revenue collected by the BBMP, where is the additional money to take on such mammoth projects as envisaged in the tender process cleared by the HC? Will the Government sell Bangalore to fund the projects?” asked Nagaraj. The same question echoed from the JD(S) chamber at the BBMP with their leader Padmanabha Reddy asking where is the money for the projects would come from. “The ruling party has not even been able to begin the projects which were assured in the BBMP Budget of 2010-11. Where will they start these newly-cleared projects?” Reddy queried.

Mayor S K Nataraj responded that the funds for the projects were already earmarked in the previous year’s budget. “We have the situation under control. We will borrow from the banks for projects cleared by the High Court. We are awaiting for the judgment and then place the project at the Palike Council for its approval,” said Nataraj.

With a clear majority of 111 corporators at the Council, the BJP administration in the Council is all set to approve the projects and propose them in the coming financial year budget. Would they ever be implemented is a question that has not bothered so far.

Chief Engineer goes missing

With the High Court dismissing the public interest litigation challenging the “BBMP midnight tenders”, all eyes are now on Chief Engineer (Major Roads) Chikkarayappa who was caught in the middle of the fiasco, is now missing in action. It was alleged that officers were finalising tenders in Chikkarayappa’s chamber on January 13 midnight, without bringing the matter to the notice of the higher-ups.

According to sources in the BBMP, the chief engineer has been missing from the BBMP ranks since the opening of the Madivala underpass and “nobody has been able to trace him”.

Sources added that he was under the scanner of new BBMP Commissioner Siddaiah and was also taken to task by the BBMP council that was established soon after the tender fiasco surfaced. “There were talks of Chikkarayappa being relieved of his post soon after the midnight tender process. However since the matter was pending in court, no action could be taken against him,” sources said.

It is said that apart from the midnight tender fiasco, allegations were levelled against Chikkarayappa in several other infrastructure cases.

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