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BBMP's silt and tractor project yet to take off in many wards  

as years passed, the much-needed programme appears to have lost its sheen as only 21 wards regularly submit proof to claim bills
Last Updated : 10 February 2022, 20:31 IST
Last Updated : 10 February 2022, 20:31 IST
Last Updated : 10 February 2022, 20:31 IST
Last Updated : 10 February 2022, 20:31 IST

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The civic body has set aside Rs 15 lakh per ward to employ labourers, a tractor, and a driver round the year to attend to local works. DH FILE
The civic body has set aside Rs 15 lakh per ward to employ labourers, a tractor, and a driver round the year to attend to local works. DH FILE
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In order to take up emergency cleaning works without any delay, the BBMP had introduced the ‘silt and tractor’ scheme, hoping to keep every ward spick and span.

But as years passed, the much-needed programme appears to have lost its sheen as only 21 wards regularly submit proof to claim bills, while influential contractors of at least 128 wards look the other way.

The Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) has set aside Rs 15 lakh per ward to employ labourers, a tractor, and a driver round the year to attend to local works.

The ‘gangmen’ will come in handy for works requiring immediate attention from removing silt or debris deposited on the roads to clearing encroachments or illegal cables blocking the footpaths.

Though the programme was well-intended, most wards are yet to experience its full implementation. Despite repeated pleas, citizens struggle to get the debris cleared or drains cleaned on time. Residents in some wards complain that the tractors are at work all through the year. Worse, there is clear disregard on the part of contractors to submit proof or photos as they receive payments anyway.

Data accessed from the BBMP showed that only 21 wards have been submitting documents and photogrpahs to claim bills. As many as 49 wards have been doing it partially.

A majority of the wards, that’s 128, have shown no interest to follow the rules. Though the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) has come up with a digital platform to submit proof, the compliance rate continues to be poor, and senior officers have been helpless.

When the silt and tractor project was probed in 2009-10 following a hue and cry over payments, the BBMP found that some contractors had provided registration numbers of cars and bikes in place of tractors to secure the contracts.

Sneha Nandihal, a resident of Hoysala Nagar ward, said she has not seen any tractor deployed to collect debris in her ward.

“Whenever we request for clearing debris, it does not get attended to. In most cases, we residents figure out ways to clear the debris. Either we make sure the debris is cleared by the person who dumps it there or we do it ourselves,” she said, demanding that the BBMP make public the money it spends towards the silt and tractor project.

Murali Govindarajulu, a resident of Hagadur ward, believes that the BBMP should stop releasing separate grants for clearing drains.

“We often see labourers cleaning the drains. The engineers raise job codes for these works. The BBMP may consider expanding the scope of the silt and tractor project so that the entire task of cleaning drains is given to them instead of releasing separate funds,” he said.

Other than the silt and tractor project, the BBMP spends Rs 2 crore to Rs 3 crore per ward for undertaking small works. Besides, a substantial chunk of the BBMP’s total works is with regard to clearing drains and the annual expenditure runs into hundreds of crores.

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Published 10 February 2022, 19:23 IST

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