Karnataka Budget 2021-22: Funds for Bengaluru down; focus on lakes, drain, rail

Budget has earmarked Rs 7,795 crore for the comprehensive development of Bengaluru
Last Updated 09 March 2021, 11:15 IST

For an ever-growing city with big ambitions, the Budget allocation under different heads has come down drastically this year, with the government focusing more on essentials due to pandemic pressure.

Going by the numbers, the Budget has earmarked Rs 7,795 crore for the comprehensive development of Bengaluru. A closer look at the document shows a handful of projects aimed at the conservation of waterbodies, drain development and suburban rail project.

However, some of the announcements under ‘Bengaluru development’ have no clear allocations. This includes big-ticket projects like metro connectivity to the Kempegowda International Airport, “expeditious” completion of its second terminal and long-pending works like the common mobility card.

The Budget has maintained a steady focus on lake development, treatment of waste water and allocation for railway projects. The rejuvenation of Vrushabhavati and Koramangala valleys along with its STP (Rs 950 crore) fits the chief minister’s description of a “far-sighted” Budget.

An allocation of Rs 850 crore for suburban rail and a similar amount for doubling of two railway lines will also promote the sustainable transport.

Among the major programmes announced for Bengaluru are the development of tourism circuits around the city under Rs 500 crore allocated to the Tourism Department, a new industrial township at Peenya at Rs 100 crore, a sub centre of Jayadeva Institute of Cardiology at KC General Hospital and a multispeciality hospital.

Deputy Chief Minister C N Ashwath Narayan said the allocations fulfil many of people’s demands. “Major emphasis has been given to the development of lakes and storm water drains, greenery, treating of waste water alongside projects like the suburban rail and metro. The Budget recognises the long-term needs of the city,” he said.

He said the funds allocated were less compared with the previous Budget, but added that the government will fill the gap with rigorous implementation. “The transparency and accountability that we have brought in the implementation of projects will not only put an end to pilferage but also ensure that funds are utilised for the right works,” he said.

Considering that many of the programmes announced in the previous Budget have been cancelled or dropped, one can’t help but wonder how many of the new announcements will survive.

Among the major projects announced last year and dropped later is the development of roads in 110 villages added to the BBMP at a cost of Rs 1,000 crore. Meanwhile, the sanction of 1,500 diesel buses to the BMTC (Rs 600 crore) has been deferred to the next financial year. Many other projects are yet to take off or stuck at the department, as per the action-taken report released by the government on Monday.

(Published 08 March 2021, 19:27 IST)

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