Ex-mayor kicks up a storm over drain

Corruption charges: Palike accused of siphoning off funds

The scam has surfaced at a time when the rains wreaking havoc in the City have exposed Palike’s poor preparedness.

It is alleged that public money to the tune of  Rs 404 crore, meant to free Bangalore from inundation during rain, was siphoned off. Ramesh told mediapersons that in the name of ridding the City of flooding during rainy season, BBMP had come out with a project for reconstruction and remodelling of stormwater drains (SWDs).

The proposal got the approval from the State government in July 2004 to execute the project under Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JnNURM). The entire project covered the four valleys - Hebbal, Vrushabhavathi, Koramangala and Challaghatta.

Remodelling work

The remodelling work of the primary and secondary stormwater drains was divided into 12 packages and 12 contractors were assigned the job.

“The initial cost of the project was Rs 350 crore and the duration for each package was 18 months. In 2006, not only the duration of the project was extended by 18 months, the cost also escalated to Rs 643.06 crore. The same contractors who could not finish the work on time were awarded the packages,” said Ramesh.

The former mayor said that in November 2008, the statement submitted to the Government of India said that the physical progress of the work on remodelling the primary and secondary SWDs was 40 per cent in Hebbal Valley, 43 per cent in Vrushabhavathi Valley, 30 per cent in Koramangala Valley and 35 per cent in Challaghatta Valley.

Ramesh said, on March 15, 2011, the government decided to continue the project and again increased the cost from Rs 643.06 crore to Rs 925.38 crore.

This meant that the project cost almost tripled from the initial estimate of Rs 350 crore. The planners again assigned the work to the old contractors, alleged Ramesh.

De-silting scam

This project also included the de-silting of lakes for which Rs 30 crore was spent.
“At least 1.4 lakh truckloads of silt were shown to have been dumped at a landfill site. But when we visited the spot, we did not find more than 400 to 500 truckloads of silt. This is again a major scam,” said Ramesh.

‘Palike downplaying engineer’s death’

Former mayor P R Ramesh has charged the BBMP with downplaying the death of Prakash, crushed under the debris of the Freedom Park wall during the recent rain, reports DHNS from Bangalore.

Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, Ramesh questioned the rationale of allowing construction of a 25-foot high wall over a 100-year-old foundation. He said no attention was paid to the wall which had developed cracks, and Prakash became a victim of official apathy.

According to the guidelines, any wall which poses danger should be brought down and it had not been followed in this case, he noted. “Did any Palike engineer certify the quality of the wall? If so, then the Palike should disclose the names,” demanded Ramesh. He said Sanjana Singh’s case was blown up by the BJP-ruled Palike, since a Congress corporator was involved.

BBMP panel alleges Red tape in proposals

The BBMP standing committee on social welfare has alleged red tape in clearing its proposals.

Committee chairperson Sugumar said here on Tuesday that the Palike officers have been sitting over its proposal to purchase 24,000 sewing machines meant for women of economically weaker sections.

The proposal has been cleared by the Council, he said, adding that the officials concerned have been delaying in clearing the file.

Of the 24,000 sewing machines, 20,000 will be distributed to the women in the core areas of Bangalore and the rest in the newly added areas of Bangalore, said Sugumar.

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