Poll code delays push back BBMP budget approval

Poll code delays push back BBMP budget approval

Projects to start late as poll code delays BBMP budget approval

Projects announced in the BBMP budget for the 2018-19 financial year are likely to be delayed as the state government is yet to approve the Rs 9,322-crore spending plan. And given that it's election season, this won't happen until the new government takes office by the end of May.  

As long as the model code of conduct  remains in force, the BBMP cannot launch new projects, invite fresh tenders or issue fresh work orders.  

A BBMP official said: "The implementation of the budget will take time. We cannot invite tenders for new projects or prepare an action plan. Approval for the budget will not come anytime soon because the new government will take  its own time to settle down."  

Helipads, 400 Wi-fi zones, bus stands, wooden skywalks, rainwater harvesting, bungalows for the mayor and the commissioner, tablets (computers) for all the 198 corporators, focus on civic health and education are some of the major programmes announced in the BBMP budget on February 28, 2018. Curiously, the BBMP worked overtime to implement only one project: the corporators got iPads within two days of the announcement.

Sanjeev Dyamannavar, a member of the NGO Praja Raag and an urban expert, said: "The city budget is very important and needs to be implemented quickly. Officials knew elections  are coming up and should have approved the budget immediately. Half of the budget funds are provided by the state government."

He continued:  "The budget is  an annual plan. Owing to elections, budget programmes have been stalled because of  a lack of coordination between civic body officials, elected representatives and the state government."

A similar situation prevailed during  the 2013 Assembly elections, he recalled. "Because of the previous Assembly elections, contractors' bills were not cleared, forcing them to hold a massive protest. The BBMP also failed to restructure the wards, which created another mess.  This just shows the inefficiency of the civic body."


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