BENGALURU: Questions loom whether the state government’s Rs 7,300-crore bounty can really improve Bengaluru after gaping irregularities in KR Puram have exposed how infrastructure funds can be misused in the absence of a foolproof monitoring.
Last month, the state cabinet approved an investment of Rs 7,300 crore for Bengaluru over the next two years under the Chief Minister’s Nagarotthana scheme.
The KR Puram assembly constituency , one of Karnataka’s largest, received Rs 797.26 crore since 2013 under Nagarotthana and other ward-level projects, special and central grants. Add to this Rs 45 crore the segment got under a special package in March. A large sum was meant to improve and asphalt roads in nine wards of the constituency .
Documents available with ET show that payments were made for projects that were, evidently, never taken up. Sample this: In 2013, the Karnataka Rural Infrastructure Development Limited (KRIDL) bagged a contract to improve roads in Akshayanagar 1st block, for which payment was made in July 2014.
As recently as December 2015, KRIDL was paid for “improved” roads in Akshayanagar 2nd block. In reality, the said roads do not have any asphalt. A similar story follows in Kalkere, Subhas Nagar, TC Palya, Anandapura among other areas.
Interestingly, the action plan drawn up for KR Puram under 2015-16 special grants includes improvement of roads at Akshayanagar and Kalkere -the same ones that were previously improved. “False works? How is that possible? Will people spare me? All works have been duly tendered,” KR Puram MLA BA Basavaraj told ET.”Yes, there have been shortcomings. But if there are false works, I won’t spare officers.”
Former BJP councillor NR Ramesh, who has filed complaints with various agencies seeking a probe, called it a massive scam. “KRIDL was paid Rs 123 crore for works of which, I believe, not even 10% were executed. So clearly, fake bills were generated,” he said. A big chunk of city development funds are routed through the BBMP , whose Commissioner N Manjunath Prasad denied pilferage.
“For every work, the project management consultant prepares a project report as per government guidelines. A third-party agency inspects works along with our own officers. Then the bill is paid,” he said. “We are making works details public so citizens can see for themselves. Unfortunately, they aren’t getting involved.”
Credits ET Realty