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Ruckus in BBMP over HMT land sale row

Thursday, 31 January 2013 - 5:20pm IST | Place: Bangalore | Agency: dna

Congress challenges BJP to order a CBI inquiry into the land deal; questions corporator NR Ramesh’s motive in alleging irregularities among senior Congress leaders
  • dna

The morning session of the BBMP’s council meeting was adjourned to afternoon with Congress leaders questioning corporator NR Ramesh’s motive in alleging irregularities and corruption among senior Congress leaders in the sale of land belonging to public sector entity Hindustan Machine Tools (HMT) in Bangalore.

The morning session, which began late at around 12 noon, saw the councillors paying their respects to KC Thimmayya by observing a minute of silence. Immediately after this, the congress leaders voiced their concerns against Ramesh’s move. “He has made allegations against our leaders such as SM Krishna and Motamma. If the BJP has guts let them order a CBI inquiry,” said Sampath Raj, corporator.

The Congress corporators came to the floor of the house to protest and soon there was a dharana, forcing the mayor to adjourn the meeting. The corporators also raised the issue of January 31 deadline for BBMP to stop dumping garbage at Mandur landfill as demanded by Mandur villagers. BBMP commissioner Siddaiah said BBMP will continue to dump the garbage at the landfill for four more months until alternative arrangements are made.

Siddaiah urged the residents to support BBMP for dumping at the landfill. “Scientific processing units are set up at Togarighatta in Koratagere taluk and Arudi in Doddaballapura, which will take four months to complete. Segregation at source and recycle of the waste should be taken up seriously,” he said.

“BBMP has got the approval from the state cabinet to purchase 1,076 acres of land at Togarighatta and Arudi. BBMP is waiting for the state government’s permission as per section 109 of Karnataka Land Revenue Act to purchase land. The district administration and revenue department have valued the land price at `10.6 lakh per acre. The district administration will provide 400 acres at Togarighatta for setting up the processing unit,” he said.

Speaking on the garbage package, Siddaiah said BBMP will float garbage tenders again. “BVG India has failed in clearing the garbage. It could manage to clear garbage in only 12 packages and has not been clearing garbage in 40 packages for the last two months. Though BBMP extended the time, BVG failed to take up the work. It failed to adhere to the municipal solid waste (MSW) rules. BBMP counsel Ashok Haranahalli has written a letter to BBMP to stop extending time to BVG India for clearing the garbage,” he said.

Siddaiah said BBMP is waiting for the court’s verdict on the garbage tender. “In the meanwhile, tender documents are prepared,” he said. Siddaiah added that BBMP can generate additional revenue of Rs400 crore from improvement charges if the government and the high court give permission.

“Confederation of Real Estate Developers Associations of India (CREDAI) has brought a stay on BBMP from collecting improvement charges of Rs550 per sq m. It claims that the fee is high compared with the earlier fee which was around Rs250 to Rs350 per sq m. CREDAI is ready to negotiate on the rate so that both could arrive at a consensus. The council should take up a a resolution to reduce the improvement fee so that CREDAI can withdraw the stay,” Siddaiah said.

Congress corporators also said BBMP failed to clear pending bills for silt and tractor contractors. Siddapura ward corporator M Udaykumar said that the contractors are in deep financial trouble as bills of lakhs of rupees have been pending.

Siddaiah said Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has reported that fraudulent payment has been made to silt and tractor contractors. “The legislature committee has demanded a reply from BBMP on CAG’s findings. There is also a case regarding the subject in the high court for which BBMP has to reply,” Siddaiah said.

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