BENGALURU: As the newly elected Councillors are all set to take oath and elect a new Mayor for Bengaluru, administrator T M Vijay Bhaskar’s four-and-a-half months tenure came to an end on Thursday.
Speaking to reporters on his last working day, he urged the Council to focus on garbage disposal, stress on resource mobilisation and maintain financial discipline for the proper functioning of BBMP.
Vijay Bhaskar advised the council to give priority to maintenance work such as filling of potholes, removing silt from drains, repairing footpaths rather than taking up new development work with the BBMP funds. On his last working day, Vijay Bhaskar said the posting turned out to be an opportunity for him to serve the city he has been living in for the past five decades.
Admitting that there is a financial crisis at the BBMP, he said around Rs 5,000 crore had to be paid towards various bills for old work. “BBMP needs at least one-and-a-half years to clear this amount, provided it follows financial discipline. After I came, we were able to pay off bills till September 2013. When the Palike gets funds, it will pay until March 2014. However, seniority should be followed while paying bills to contractors. “As of now, BBMP has collected more than Rs 1,350 crore and another Rs 1 crore has to be collected to reach this year’s target by March 2016,” he said.
On the property tax hike, he said he had written a letter to the state government to approve the implementation of the revised property tax. However, as this financial year has already begun, the new rate will be applicable only from next year. He also said they have got approval to increase building licence fee which is expected to fetch the BBMP a sum of Rs 200 crore. This apart, now that the state government has approved to renew advertisements, BBMP can expect Rs 60 crore, he said.
Pointing to the financial management, Vijay Bhaskar said new work worth Rs 1,820 crore for which job codes were already given had been freezed. “There is a need to control new development work. This apart, they shot down the BBMP budget from Rs 7,200 crore to Rs 5,400, thus saving Rs 1,800 crore. All together, the Palike was able to save Rs 3,600 crore. We have completed 88 per cent of the road history data and the remaining shall be done soon. Henceforth any road related work has to been fed into the road history,” he said.
On the staff, Vijay Bhaskar said he had written a letter to the government urging it to create 25 new posts and fill another 250 posts like those of junior health inspectors and assistant engineers. He thanked everyone from the pourakarmikas to the senior officials and contractors. “Without their cooperation, I would not been able to work efficiently,” he said.