Budget push to city's infra 'too little too late', say experts

  With Assembly elections scheduled next year, the state budget has a clear focus on welfare schemes and key infrastructure projects to woo Bengalureans, especially the urban poor.

Experts, however, are not impressed much as the implementation of these schemes is not monitored. Besides, Siddaramaiah took long to realise that Bengaluru’s infrastructure should be a priority, they said and criticised the government’s “indifference” to the city’s dying lakes.

Governance reforms activist, R K Misra, said the white-topping of roads, footpath improvement and TenderSURE projects were repetition of last year’s budget. “These projects could not take off because the government could not decide on the roads. It should have started the infrastructure projects in the first three years so that these works were over by now,” he said.

Misra was nonetheless pleased these projects found a place in the budget. While he lauded the welfare schemes saying these were needed to uplift millions out of poverty, he expressed disappointment that there was nothing in the budget for Bengaluru’s lakes.

Former chief secretary A Ravindra said roads in the city were in bad shape because the implementation was poor, and gave the example of Indiranagar Main Road. “There should be some vision for urban development. Bengaluru has a significant place in the state and more funds should have been allocated to it,” he said.

Urban planning expert V Ravichandar termed the budget “a mixed bag”. He welcomed the emphasis on pedestrian safety, provision for commuter rail and toilets in the city. He echoed Misra on lakes. “Bellandur lake has been mentioned in the budget but there are no funds to revive it,” he said.

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