The Economic Times: Upcoming Municipal budget in Bengaluru to focus on poor infrastructure

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BENGALURU: The upcoming municipal budget is expected to lay special focus on the city’s peripheral areas that are reeling under poor infrastructure. It remains to be seen if fund allocation matches the thought, especially since that has not been the case in previous budgets.

Bommanahalli, Dasarahalli, Mahadevapura, Rajarajeshwari Nagar and Yelahanka -which straddle Bengaluru’s periphery -received a combined allocation of Rs 851 crore.

In contrast, Rs 1,105 crore went to the inner zones of East, West and South, according to an analysis of allocations made in the previous budget. When this was pointed out, municipal commissioner N Manjunath Prasad conceded: “There’s no doubt the outer zones need much more focus.”

According to a former municipal commissioner, who did not wish to be named, inner zones do not need even half of what the outer zones get. “But they end up getting more because they are represented by councillors who are elected multiple times and with enough clout.”

That the city’s periphery needs higher allocation is evident. In the Street Quality Score prepared by Janaagraha, outer zones scored low on footpaths, pedestrian crossings, street lighting and availability of parks or playgrounds.

Sample this: Five wards in Whitefield -Garudachar Palya, Kadugodi , Hagadur, DoddaNekkundi and Varthur -got an average Rs 6.7 crore allocation as against the average Rs 13.52-crore allocation for core city wards such as Basavanagudi, Chickpet, Padmanabhanagar, Pattabhiram Nagar and Yediyur. 

Besides getting a raw deal, systemic flaws make it difficult for available funds to be used effectively . “We get funds now but development happens two years later. That’s how our system works,” said Garudachar Palya councillor BN Nithish Purushotham. “We are following-up to streamline the process so works can be taken up faster,” the 31-year old MBA graduate said. 

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