Days after approval for the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) budget was scrapped by the government, Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa has ordered an enquiry into the works of the BBMP empowered committee. The Chief Minister has asked for a report to be submitted on the quality and progress of works approved by the committee in the last three years.
"The empowered committee was formed on November 3 2016. From November 3, 2016 to June 30, 2019, the empowered committee had given approval for works worth thousands of crores. It has come to the government's notice that some of the approvals were given to contractors who quoted 32 times more than the actual estimate," said the order.
The works need to be investigated and a report has to be submitted within three months.
This order comes after the newly sworn-in BJP government scrapped the approval for the BBMP budget on August 3, just four months after the approval was given. This meant that no new jobs could be taken up and projects like the Indira canteens were affected. Indira canteens were started in Bengaluru by the Siddaramaiah government to provide affordable food for the urban poor in 198 wards. Responsibility of funding these canteens, earlier with the government, now rests with the BBMP.
Yediyurappa had also ordered a probe into white topping of Bengaluru roads earlier this month. A source in the BJP claimed that the present government is only cleaning up the mess created by the previous Siddaramaiah and HD Kumaraswamy governments.
"If there is something wrong or illegal, then let them investigate but stopping works is not right. All the works have come to a standstill with these orders," said Congress MLA Ramalinga Reddy.
The move comes ahead of the mayoral election scheduled for September this year, after the end of one-year term of current mayor Gangambike Mallikarjun, a Congress corporator in the BBMP.
Of the 198 seats, the BJP has 102 corporators, Congress has 74, JD(S) has 14 and eight are independent. However, the BJP, even after it emerged as the single-largest party after the BBMP polls in 2015, could not win the mayoral polls because of the formula in place that allows voting rights to MLAs, Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha MPs, and MLCs who are residents of Bengaluru to elect the mayor.
The BBMP council has 262 members, where the BJP had 125, seven short of the magic number - 132. The Congress and JDS has lost four MLAs to disqualification and the BJP hopes this would tilt the numbers in their favor.