Whitefield residents feel discriminated in civic budget allocation

BENGALURU: The city software hub Whitefield has got a raw deal from the Rs 9,000-crore municipal budget in terms of allocation in the fiscal year 2016-17 even as large parts of the region are woefully short of civic infrastructure. Five wards in Whitefield -Garudachar Palya, Kadugodi, Hagadur, Dodda Nekkundi and Varthur -got an average Rs 6.7-crore allocation as against the average Rs 13.52crore allocation core city wards such as Basavanagudi, Chickpet, Padmanabhanagar, Pattabhiram Nagar and Yediyur got, according to the Janaagraha ward performance reports that ET has analysed.

The disparity is stark because the Mahadevapura zone, which houses Whitefield, paid over Rs 400 crore in property taxes as of March 2016, the highest. As a result, corporators representing citizens in Whitefield are livid and point out that the budget allocation is meagre.  “It’s a no-brainer that developing wards need priority but budgeting happens behind closed doors,“ Garudachar Palya corporator BN Nithish Purushotam said.  The 31-year-old MBA graduate, a first-time corporator, said he had to fight with the mayor and the finance standing committee for special funds as his ward received only Rs 5.58 crore. “There’s no proper analysis done to assess the development that a ward really needs. Sitting corporators and citizens aren’t consulted.“

A village some three decades ago, Whitefield today is a major hub hosting IT giants such as SAP Labs, HP and Intel. But growth came with its attendant problems of poor planning and inadequate allocation.  “Mahadevapura is the number-one taxpayer. The BBMP should be divided so that we can manage on our own,“ said S Uday Kumar, who represents the Hagadur ward that got Rs 5.84 crore.

“We need at least Rs 30 crore but new corporators like me don’t have enough clout like those in the inner city wards who’ve won 3-4 times.“ In a statement, citizen movement Whitefield Rising questioned the fairness in government spending given that Whitefield wards pay highest taxes, face most traffic congestion and get a bulk of the city’s sewage.“How can we have an allocation of Rs 24 crore for a 1.7 sqkm ward (Padmanabhanagar) while Rs 5 crore is allocated to a ward with 27 sqkm (Varthur)? It is mindboggling.“

The civic body has partnered with Janaagraha’s MyCityMyBudget campaign for the upcoming budget to ensure citizens have a say in the budgeting process. “Citizens have the right to know how the money is spent,“ Municipal Commissioner N Manjunath Prasad said.

Credits Economic Times

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