Bouquets and brickbats from Congress leaders

Senior Congress leaders were divided in their opinion over the BBMP budget for 2014-15 that was presented by BJP corporator Dr M S Shivaprasad, who heads the Taxation and Finance Standing Committee.

While district incharge minister Ramalinga Reddy hailed the budget, calling it realistic, his fellow Congressman and Opposition leader in the BBMP Council B N Manjunath Reddy said the budget is like old wine in new bottle, as it is not clear how the Palike will garner revenue from advertisements and telecom companies who lay optical fibre cables. 

“If they regularise hoardings and take action against unauthorised advertisements, they can easily get Rs 400 crore to Rs 500 crore, but they are not doing it. I am not sure whether they will implement the programmes they have announced under this year’s budget,” Manjunath Reddy said.

He said the budget has no provision for constructing houses for slum dwellers and that the welfare programmes announced in last year’s budget were not being implemented. “The Palike said it will build homes for SC/STs, but it was not done,” Manjunath Reddy said. However, Ramalinga Reddy opined that it seems like a realistic budget. 

“No additional tax has been imposed which is a good news for the public. The highlight of this year’s budget is that the grants for the wards have been increased. While for old wards, the grants has been increased from Rs two crore to Rs three crore, for new wards it has been increased from Rs three to Rs four crore. I have requested Chief Minister Siddaramaiah to release grants to the civic agency.” 

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