Noting that there was a large gap between the civic needs of cities and investment in infrastructure projects, Principal Secretary to the Urban Development Department, P N Sreenivasachari, said water supply in most urban areas of the state was not up to national standards.
Speaking at an interactive meeting organised by the Federation of Karnataka Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FKCC) here on Friday, Sreenivasachari explained that there were national benchmarks for the litres per capital per day (LPCD), which refers to the water consumption per person per day for different locations. In India, it is 150 litres in metros, 135 litres in towns and 70 litres in rural areas. But, in Karnataka, most towns and cities do not meet these standards, he said.
“This is one of the main reasons why we are not able to develop underground drains in 40 towns, including H D Kote and Savanoor of Haveri district,” he added.
Sreenivasachari said 38 per cent of unused land in Karnataka is in urban areas. “We are taking up the Nagarotthana schemes to develop urban areas. The state government is allotting `5 crore for town municipal corporations and `30 crore for city municipal corporations. The BBMP has been allotted `880 crore this year. Under these schemes, we are developing 3,000 km of inner roads in 19 districts at a cost of `2,000 crore,” he explained. However, the quality of roads needs to be monitored by local bodies, he reminded.
Referring to the drastic growth of urban areas in the State, Sreenivasachari said
there were seven different civic agencies in Bangalore - such as BBMP, BDA, BWSSB and Namma Metro - that would require nearly `80,000 crore in investments in the next five years.
“All we could generate is `30,000 crore and we are banking on the Centre for the remaining funds,” he said.
Sreenivasachari said revenue mobilisation was a common challenge for the more than 220 municipal corporations and urban local bodies working on urban development schemes in the State. He claimed local bodies were spending more on security than getting rent from buildings in prime locations.
“Local bodies should be strengthened financially. They are not empowered, unlike other cities in foreign countries, where mayors have more powers. Their governance system, transparency levels, commitment and citizens’ responsibility are different,” he added.