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 Rich city,poor BBMP

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Join date : 2012-05-26
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Location : Bangalore

PostSubject: Rich city,poor BBMP    Sat Jun 30, 2012 3:00 pm

Rich city,poor BBMP


Political parties have squeezed Bangalore dry and crippled the Palike with their musical-chair rotations


What does it actually meanwhenacityregisters a growth rate ranked among the fastest in the world,consistently,over two decades,but its municipal corporation continues to be sick and debt-stricken How come there was a two-decade propertyboominthecity,buttheBBMP,which collects property taxes needs to mortgage its city sites and buildings to raise a Rs 1,000-crore loan
Itmeansthatittakesalotofwork to keep the Palike poor.
That is the indisputable conclusion that we can reach after going through BBMPs budget for 2012-13.The much-delayed financial exercise has been panned,of course,by just about everybody but the BJPs minister in charge of Bangalore,Mr R Ashoka.The Palike,absurdly,believes it will make an income of about Rs 9,500 crore this year.Everybody else thinks it will set a record if it manages to mop up even Rs 4,000 crore,which will just about equals its debts.
It could be argued with the help of a pocket calculator and a knowing citizen that the Palike could clearupitsdebtswithevenoneofits small revenue sources.For instance,the budget document puts outthatitisBBMPsambitiontocollect Rs 75 crore from advertisement hoardings and billboards.This is ridiculous.Does the BBMP have an inventory of outdoor advertising sites and spots If not,why not How many of these are illegal
The cost of renting outdoor advertising space depends on size,location and visibility,but a decent hoarding in Bangalore should fetch the contractor about Rs 5 lakh per month.The lower-grade billboard could average at Rs 1 lakh per month.Surely,there must be at least 10,000 hoardings in the city andtheonusoffurnishingtheexact figure is with the BBMP.The BBMP and the state government that seems determined to choke it to death have got their top financial brains to work out an incredible scheme by which it can auction advertising properties worth,perhaps,Rs 2,500 crore or more to get revenuethatisundertwopercentof it.For us citizens,that is the price of ugliness.
Let us not let this government forget that Karnataka state gets most of its money from Bangalore.This year the state wants to collect Rs 3,350 crore from motor vehicle taxes,according to chief minister DV Sadananda Gowdas state budget.More than half of that amount will come from Bangalore.But,in return,should not our citizens expect that this entire portion will be spent,as it should be,on improvementofthecitystransportandtraffic infrastructure
Anestimatewasoncemadepublic by the Palikes own elected representatives that Bangalore has about 5,000kmofOpticFibreCable(OFC) network.The states municipal authority rules empower the Palike to tax this network and collect an estimated Rs 600 crore per year.Either nobody cares or knows how to go about this in the BBMP or,even more likely,somebody actually does and,therefore,chooses to let the cables lie as they are,for other considerations.
Whatever be the state of the citys property markets,with a population of over one crore,and an estimated demand for about one lakh dwelling or work space units every year,the Palike should have made a reasonable income.There has been a property boom over the last 20 years in the city,with prices going up an average five-fold.However,BBMP is still struggling to get an annual overall income of Rs 3,000 crore,which include tax- and nontax revenues and state grants.The BJP government doled out about Rs 1,000 crore to the Palike this year to keep it on life-support.
The political parties of Karnataka have got a hold of Bangalore and long believed that the juice is there for the taking.They have squeezed the city dry and crippled the Palike by reducing it to a musical-chair rotation of one-year mayors and committee members.In 1978,the Devaraj Urs government abolished octroi,whichcouldhavebeenamajor revenue source for Bangalore.The Mumbai municipal body will collect Rs 6,000 crore this year in octroi alone.In principle,the state governments have not really been against levying taxes of trucks ferrying goods.Not really,because they have imposed an entry-tax regime that means all kinds of revenue,official and not-so-official.It just means that the city is starved of this income,but the state takes it.
This BJP government is already on notice.Many of their stalwarts have been disgraced,sent to prison or out in limbo.The state is due for Assembly polls in May 2013.If the shambles that the state BJP is in must be taken into consideration,it islikelytofacepollsthisyearitself.It seemsnottomattertothepartythat Bangalore elected 17 of its MLAs and all three Lok Sabha MPs from the party.The city can elect 28 MLAs,an eighth of the state Assembly,and in this era of coalitions and narrow margins that should count.We should make it count.
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