Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), the civic body of the Greater Bangalore metropolitan area, has shown that it can issue a tender for a road restoration project, award a contract, get the road repaired and release payment to the contractor – all in one day. However, a ground check reveals a different story – this ‘efficiency’ on the part of the BBMP, better known for its apathy, is only on paper. Former city councillor MA Pari, who got documents related to the project under the RTI Act, reportedly said that this bill was created for a work that was never carried out, and is fake, adding that we can only hope the BBMP is half as fast or efficient in reality.
The documents reveal that on July 18, 2013, the then executive engineer of Shantinagar sub-division issued a work order (089-12000048) to a contractor for restoration of a street in Jogupalya. In its order, the BMMP estimated that it would take 45 days to complete the work. However, another set of documents reveal that a private testing laboratory carried out quality tests and submitted a report on July 18. Based on this, BBMP officials promptly cleared the payment of Rs 9.79 lakh – all in a day!
The actual payment was made by cheque to the contractor in August 2015. As reported, Pari suspects that the scam may not be limited to one project. He had applied for documents pertaining to 33 civil works taken up between 2012 and 2014 in the area, but was stonewalled by the BMMP. He shared that even after the Karnataka Information Commission ordered the BBMP to provide the documents on all the 33 works, they gave him documents of only nine, as reported. It was in these documents that he unearthed the fake project. He further added that one can only guess the contents of the documents BMMP is holding back. On the other hand, BBMP Commissioner N Manjunath Prasad reportedly said that the documents have been brought to his notice, and he will look into the case and take suitable action.
What’s more, in 2008-09, irregularities amounting to nearly Rs 1,500 crore were alleged in projects undertaken in Rajarajeshwari Nagar, Malleswaram and Gandhinagar Assembly constituencies. A probe was undertaken by the CID.