Govt moots 7 mantras to fund transport projects

Betterment fee plan draws flak from experts

Govt moots 7 mantras to fund transport projects

The state government on Wednesday proposed seven revenue- generation modules, including the contentious betterment fee on owners of properties located within a kilometre radius of the new projects, to mobilise resources for transport infrastructure projects.

The government’s decision, however, was criticised by urban planners who termed the proposal a “bad idea”.

But the government hopes to mobilise resources for the fund-starved transport infrastructure projects, including the proposed Light Rail Transit System and Metro Phase I and II projects, Peripheral Ring Road and the suburban rail.

Briefing media on the Cabinet decisions, Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister T B Jayachandra said the government had taken up several infrastructure projects in the city to decongest traffic.

“The government, however, has no means to fund them. So, the Cabinet approved the Urban Development Department’s (UDD) proposal,’’ he said. “At the moment the government is only focusing on the Metro and there is no money to fund these projects.”

He did not share details of how much money needs to be mobilised or the methods to be adopted. He said the Light Rail Transit System would be a parallel transport mode to the Metro.

Armed with the approval from the Cabinet, the UDD would be able to raise funds in seven different ways. These include: exchange of developed land for the land required for the project as compensation; premium on Floor Space Index; cess on approval of layouts; construction and exploitation of commercial spaces near important projects; revenue generation through sources like premium for road development and betterment tax.

Urban experts doubt the possibility of using the funds to improve infrastructure.
Urban Planner and civic analyst A S Kodanda Pani said that the state government is acting like a private greedy builder in making such proposals to allow commercial use everywhere. “Why have a master plan of the City when the land use proposals are not followed. There is already resistance among citizens about commercial buildings coming up in residential areas affecting their privacy, increasing traffic and parking problems.

They have appealed against commercial buildings in residential areas in the court also. When this is the case, collecting betterment levy and allowing commercial use in residential areas affecting the residential environment is bad.’’ 

Another urban expert Ashwin Mahesh questioned the need for fresh cabinet nod when the Karnataka Municipal Act and BDA Act already allow such levies.

 He noted that if the government used the collected registration fee and stamp duty judiciously, then there would be no need to collect additional betterment fee. The government also collects professional tax, which should be used to improve the areas where the professionals are.

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