Air show blows Rs 107 cr off Palike coffers

Air show blows Rs 107 cr off Palike coffers

Caught in a bureaucratic wrangle between the Finance Department (FD) and the Infrastructure Development Department (IDD), the BBMP is not able to recover the amount it has spent on developing infrastructure, linking Yelahanka Air Force Station on behalf of the State government.

In anticipation of grants, the Palike spent Rs 122.13 crore while in return it has got a mere Rs 15 crore from the State government through IDD. For the last two years, the BBMP officials are running from pillar to post to get their investment back.

“For the last two years, we have been pursuing the matter, but have not succeeded so far. We are directed either to the FD or the IDD,” said a senior Palike officer, seeking anonymity.

The IDD and the FD officers claimed that the sum couldn’t be granted as the work was shoddy, the officials said. However, the Palike has not received any official communication from the IDD or the FD on substandard quality of work.

‘Thrust upon Palike’
“We never asked the State government for the infrastructure project. It was thrust upon us,” the officer said.

He said: “Now, two years after the completion of the work, the IDD and the FD authorities are coming out with silly excuses of shoddy job. That is not acceptable.”

As many as 289 Indian firms and 303 foreign companies participated in the Aero Show-2009 that was organised between February 11 and 15. The dates were decided much earlier, but the State government woke up to realise the absence of proper infrastructure only on January 13, 2009.

The chief secretary called a meeting of the heads of all the departments to chalk out an action plan and start the work on war-footing to provide proper road connectivity to the Yelahanka Air Force Station.

During the meeting, it was planned that the IDD or the FD of the State government would fund the project. It was also decided that the expenditure on the project would be exempted under Section 4 (G) of the Karnataka State Transparency Act (KSTA).  

Formally, an order was passed on January 19, 2009, to start the work, and the BBMP was asked to execute the project, though a substantial number of places were not falling under the jurisdiction of the Palike. The Palike was supposed to acquire private land by giving Transferable Development Rights (TDR) to the property owners.

The project was divided into two sections. In the first section, four packages with 42 projects at an estimated cost of Rs 38.56 crore, were designed. Besides developing escape routes and widening and strengthening of 11.7 km of the road, the BBMP was assigned the task of shifting electrical poles too. It roped in a large number of contractors and completed the projects.

Later, 35 more works - including shifting of poles under four packages at an estimated cost of Rs 83.57 crore were planned, to link Yelahanka Air Force Station with the Bengaluru International Airport. Again, the project was exempted from the KSTA. So far, projects worth Rs 92 crore are over, while projects worth Rs 30 crore are under progress.

Farmers in trouble
Farmers and property owners, who parted with the land for the projects, are in trouble now. When the project was designed, the Palike didn’t have an elected body, The officials promised them a TDR in exchange for their properties which did not fall under the BBMP jurisdiction.

In the absence of funds, the Palike could not distribute the TDR. Now, the corporators are against the distribution of TDR on behalf of the State government. Documents available with Deccan Herald show that many farmers and property owners who parted with their properties between Chikkabana and Doddaballapur, have not received any TDR.

Contractors halt work
As the Palike’s dwindling financial position is not permitting it to carry out the project, the contractors too have halted the work. Construction of some of the sub-arterial roads have come to a grinding halt, causing trouble to the residents.

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