BANGALORE: Cash-strapped Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) has a knack of making dead investments and then forgetting about it. In a latest case, a swimming pool constructed by BBMP in Lakkasandra, near Wilson Garden, is lying half-constructed and completely neglected. Strangely, files containing information on financial transactions pertaining to the swimming pool are missing.
A few years ago, BBMP decided to construct a swimming pool in Lakkasandra to boost its coffers. According to officials, BBMP spent over Rs 5 crore to construct the pool and even promised to open the pool for public use in 2009. Three years later, thanks to delays and financial discrepancies, it is nowhere near ‘opening’ and is a dead weight on taxpayers’ money. The pool is constructed on land spread over eight acres and nearly two acres are still lying vacant.
Murky dealings: The current BBMP Executive Engineer found the discrepancies on a routine inspection in the area. He learnt that the public swimming pool project was to help generate revenue and recover losses. However, the selection of location for the pool was judged as unfit for two reasons — No proper approach road and completely surrounded by a slum, observed the official.
“I was recently posted to this zone. I feel that the BBMP officials, who were here during the sanction of this project in 2007, should have objected to the project’s location. The project was unnecessary and cannot be expected to generate any revenue. The money spent on this is a waste. I have asked the Mayor and the Deputy Mayor to look into this issue. However, to complete this pool, we still require over Rs 1.5 crore. I have given a proposal to develop a tree park worth Rs 1.2 crore now in the vacant land, as we don’t see any chance of BBMP making profit out of this pool. It is a dead investment,” said S Rajesh, Executive Engineer, BBMP.
Deputy Mayor takes on BBMP officials : Deputy Mayor, S Harish blames BBMP officials for the murky dealings in many BBMP projects. He pointed out that even before the elected representatives took charge at the Palike, the officials were in the know. “It was the BBMP officials who were running the show and many projects were started around that time. The files related to those projects, including this swimming pool, went missing,” said S Harish, Deputy Mayor. He added that there was a proposal to develop a park in the remaining vacant land and the Horticulture Department had even planted nearly 3,000 saplings in the area.
However, some quarters within BBMP have pitched in the idea of a public-private partnership (PPP) to complete this swimming pool and for maintenance thereafter. This issue will be raised in the monthly council meeting which will take place shortly. Until then, the pool will act as a garbage dump and a home for stray dogs. ww