February 5, 2023

BENGALURU EXPRESS

Truth Triumphs

Differences between babus and netas come to fore, BBMP budget put off

Photo Courtesy: Deccan Chronicle

Bangalore, March 29: Lack of co-ordination between the BBMP top brass and city ministers was clearly evident as the BBMP budget which was scheduled to be presented on Wednesday evening at the IPP has been put off in the last minute. It was yes, no, yes, no until Tuesday evening.

It is said that BBMP babus, especially special commissioner (finance) Tulasi Maddineni was given a dressing down for failing to take some MLAs, ministers including Revenue Minister R Ashok into confidence in allocation of funds to various assembly constituencies. It may be recalled that Ashok held Bengaluru Development portfolio earlier and was actively involved in budget preparation and presentation.

R Ashok

No doubt, budget is a sacred and secret document. But the BBMP officials concerned kept it so secret that some of the traditions were broken. City MLAs including a few ministers were not into confidence. Meeting with ex-mayors was not held.

CN Ashwath Narayan

Since MLAs felt ignored, sources said that there was a demand to have another round of discussions with all the city Ministers, especially a few ministers like R Ashok, CN Ashwath Narayan and K Gopalaiah among others.

Rakesh Singh
Gaurav Gupta
Tulasi Maddineni

Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai, who holds the Bengaluru development portfolio directed BBMP Administrator Rakesh Singh (also Additional Chief Secretary of Urban Development Department), BBMP Chief Commissioner Gaurav Gupta and Special Commissioner (Finance) Thulasi Maddineni to discuss the allocations and sort out the differences.

After that whatever happened was in a swift manner. Marathon meetings, cancellation of preparatory arrangements, stopping of printing of budget and speech copies. It is learnt that several amendments have been suggested to be incorporated in the budget.

Media kept in dark about the budget date until last minute:

Usually, the budget date will be announced at least a week in advance and meeting notices would be given officials concerned. Media would be informed in advance.

Ironically, the new BBMP Act also does not mention about the meeting notices to be issued ahead of presenting the budget. But the Karnataka Municipal Corporation (KMC) Act 1976 had clear mention of notice period. Until Tuesday evening the media heard only yes-no, yes-no and finally the budget presentation has been put off.

The budget will be presented in the morning to enable evening papers to cover the budget proceedings. Now, Ms Maddineni has to answer why the budget presentation has been planned in the evening? What does the BBMP achieve by not presenting the budget in the morning?

Budget speech copies went wasted?

Sources revealed that about 500 budget copies were to be printed. However, the printing had to be abruptly stopped as some changes had to be made following a marathon meeting with R Ashok.

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