BBMP mayor called the project a national "loss"

No end to TenderSure quarrels in Bengaluru Mayor unhappy with roads BPAC defensive
news Sunday, November 01, 2015 - 13:41

Presented as a project that would give Bengaluru world-class roads, TenderSURE has come in for sharp criticism not just from civil society, but also two of the city’s mayors.

On Tuesday, recently elected mayor BN Manjunath Reddy sharply criticised the project, calling it a “national loss”. In the past, former mayor N Shantakumari has also sharply criticised the project.

Reddy’s remarks at the Bengaluru Rising – Aspirations versus Reality meeting organized by Bangalore Political Action Committee (B.PAC), and media reports of the event did not go down well with the organisers. 

Several Councillors, MLAs and residents of the city had participated. BPAC is one of the proponents of the TenderSURE project, the design of which, has been prepared by Swati Ramanathan, head of Jana Urban Space Foundation.

Biocon head and member of Kiran Mazumdar Shaw lauded the project and said that it had changed the face of the city, but said it was unfortunate that stones had been left lying on the streets, and saplings had not been planted elsewhere.

When it was his turn, Reddy was scathing. “There are lakhs of vehicles in the city and thousands more are being added everyday. Vehicular movement must be given priority on roads. But on TenderSURE roads, footpaths have been given more importance,” Prajavani quoted him as saying.

At this, Shaw said that this had happened only on one road.

Read: The Bengaluru footpath that's wider than the road has caught the CM's attention

Naming certain roads where the project is being implemented, Reddy said that some pipelines had unnecessarily been laid on both sides of the road under the footpath. “Some pipelines have been laid needlessly. Spending crores of rupees like this is a national waste,” Reddy said.

Shaw took offence to this and was quoted by Prajavani as saying: “You are making such allegations based on hearsay. There are differences of opinion among people. We can do a joint survey to ascertain the facts.”

To this, Reddy retorted: “I’m not saying this based on hearsay. I’ve received complaints.” Later, Prajavani reported that Shaw tweeted saying that the Mayor was doing a sincere job.

The following day, when a report of this exchange appeared in The Hindu, Revathi Ashok put up a post on Facebook saying: “Talk of irresponsible reporting ! So many positive initiatives discussed in the 4 hour dialogue, but Media chooses to dwell on all of 1 minute! Sensational and irresponsible! For the first time in the history of the city over 200 people - 80 corporators, 3 MLAs, several BBMP Council Standing Committee members and citizens attended a meeting to discuss and better understand their ward related issues and priorities and encourage conversations between elected local leaders and citizens,none of that covered. I am appalled at Hindu reporting. Others are no better. This is one of the reasons why the country cannot progress. We actually try to manufacture bad news even where there is none!”

Some months ago, former mayor N Shantakumari had vented her ire. Udayavani quoted her as saying: “If BBMP official and members are kept out of the TenderSURE project, and it is given to consultation agencies, then the BBMP will not release its share of Rs 100 crore. Let the (state) government itself pay up. If it doesn't have the money, let the NGOs concerned cough up the money from their own houses,” Mayor Shanta Kumari.

“If the government wishes to blindly implement a project based on a report prepared by Swati Ramanathan who is not a technical expert, BBMP will not give the money. If only talk is important, then let them (government) supersede the BBMP and hand over administration to them (JUSF), she added.

“ BBMP must not interfere in this, (the department has said). BBMP members and Councillors have complained to me about this many times. For a scheme that the BBMP is paying for, the BBMP itself has not right to suggest modifications. What is the meaning of keeping the BBMP out and giving complete authority to an NGO? This is the murder of democracy, we will insist that they supersede the BBMP” Shantakumari said.

 

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