Palike bypassed Muzrai dept to undertake temple work

Officials 'squandered' funds by building arch, parking space at Vasantapura

In a more embarrassment to the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike which had, on paper, spent Rs one crore on renovating the kalyani (tank) of the Vasantha Vallabharaya Temple at Vasantapura and parks around it using funds allocated under urgent work, it has now come to light that it had not sought permission from the Muzrai department. The temple comes under the Muzrai department.

Deccan Herald had published a story on November 28, 2012, about the Palike engineers allegedly squandering Rs 50 lakh for the renovation of the temple tank and another Rs 50 lakh for the parks.

The Palike engineers had got Rs one crore sanctioned under the ‘urgent work’ category and entrusted the work to the Karnataka Rural Infrastructure Development Limited (KRIDL), so as to bypass the tender process. KRIDL, said Palike sources, charges 15 per cent extra than the estimate prepared by the BBMP for being a ‘credible government subsidiary’.

The funds were never utilised for the temple tank or parks. When Deccan Herald sought to know reasons behind non-utilisation of funds, the Palike engineers said that they diverted Rs 50 lakh meant for the temple tank to build the temple arch. Another Rs 50 lakh, meant for parks, was spent on developing parking space around the temple as there was no park to develop.

Vindicated

Based on the Deccan Herald report, a Congress party worker, whose name Palike authorities withheld for security reasons, had lodged a complaint in April this year with the BBMP commissioner, who ordered an inquiry. The probe vindicated the November 28 report.

The permission of the Muzrai department should have been sought for the project. But the Palike officers never did so and unilaterally got the fund sanctioned from the BBMP and squandered it, said Palike sources.

Phanisai Bharadwaj, a local resident, alleged that he had sought information from the Muzrai department under the RTI Act five months ago about the works undertaken by it in and around the Vallabharaya temple, but he had not got any information till now.
“There is an apparent attempt to suppress facts,” said Bharadwaj.

Alarmed by the residents cleaning the temple kalyani to highlight the squandering of Rs one crore, BBMP officials have  now decided to renovate the temple tank.

Local residents had planned to clean the temple tank this Sunday too. However, a BBMP engineer reportedly approached Bharadwaj, assuring him that he would get it cleaned within a week.

Bharadwaj said, “We have deferred cleaning the temple tank for a week following an assurance by the BBMP engineer. We hope he will keep his promise.”

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