'Emergency projects' of BBMP smacks of graft

'Emergency projects' of BBMP smacks of graft

The exemptions provided in the Karnataka Transparency in Public Procurement Act for relief works during natural calamities, appears to have come in handy for siphoning off government funds.

Doubts are now being raised over the expenditure of Rs 55.37 crore, purported to have been incurred by the BBMP, during heavy rain in 2009-10.

Section 4(a) of the KTPP Act provides that the provisions of the said law shall not apply to procurement of goods and services during the period of natural calamity or emergency declared by the Government. The Palike could invoke the clause to exempt itself from tender process to award projects to contractors on an emergency basis.

According to Palike records, bills totalling to Rs 55.37 crore have been pending towards emergency works.

“The projects, taken up under the head of natural calamities were approved by then commissioner Bharat Lal Meena. It was inevitable to invoke the exemption clause as heavy rain pounded the City,” said a BBMP source.

The works taken up included re-laying of stormwater drains and roads and all such other works required to be attended on an ‘immediate’ basis. Two years down the line, serious doubts are being raised on misappropriation of funds in such projects.

Precedence

However, this is not an isolated case.

 ‘Emergency works’ taken up in Yelahanka under similar circumstances in 2008 have already kicked up dust. The matter was raised by Yeshwanthpur councillor Munirathna earlier in 2010. He had alleged that the executive engineer and chief engineer of Byatarayanapura zone had taken up projects worth Rs 330 crore.

Irregularities alleged

With allegations of irregularities flying thick and fast, none in the Palike are willing to clear the pending bills, thus leaving the contractors in quandary.

A civil contractor who executed projects worth Rs 22 lakh during 2009-10 has “left the money to Palike,” a source said.

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