Will Stop BBMP From Pledging Heritage Buildings: Minister

An irresponsible Palike shells out `2 crore a day just repaying its debts

Published: 28th October 2014 06:00 AM  |   Last Updated: 27th October 2014 09:57 PM   |  A+A-

Town-Hall,-built

BANGALORE: After architects, artists and citizens strongly opposed the proposal to demolish Balabrooie Guest House, the state government is showing some concern about other heritage buildings in the city.

District-in-charge minister Ramalinga Reddy told City Express the BBMP would be directed to stop mortgaging and demolishing heritage buildings.

For the cash-strapped Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagra Palike (BBMP), an easy way to raise loans is by mortgaging heritage buildings. It has taken loans by pledging many properties, including K R Market, Russel Market and Johnson Market. But now, the government wants to put an end to this practice.

When asked whether the government would help the BBMP financially, Reddy said the municipal corporation had already taken loans of up to `7,000 crore from various sources. "Let them clear these loans first," he said.

The BBMP mortgaged K R Market in January 2012 to obtain a loan of `480 crore from Housing and Urban Development Corporation (Hudco). It has also mortgaged Russel Market and Johnson Market.

A senior BBMP official, who did not wish to reveal his identity, said the municipal corporation was helpless. "The Palike has to pay more than ` 1,500 crore to its contractors. The chief minister is insisting we mobilise our own resources. We can only pledge our properties to get loans. We are paying close to `750 crore as interest along with the principal every year, and this means almost `2 crore a day," he revealed.

This January, the BBMP had set out to pledge Town Hall to a nationalised bank for a loan of `200 crore. Canara Bank's deputy general manager had even written a letter to the BBMP commissioner and agreed to take the property as security for the proposed loan. The bank had asked for copies of documents related to the properties. This evoked criticism from various people including councillors and the BBMP authorities had to withdraw the plan.

On a positive note, the BBMP has taken up the challenge of renovating Town Hall by spending `5 crore. The plan includes changing the seats, replacing the roof and adding air-conditioning. The work is expected to be completed by December.

Opposition leader Manjunath Reddy believes that pledging of heritage properties is a bad practice adopted by the BJP, the party currently running the affairs at BBMP.

"They are presenting a budget close to `10,000 crore while the actual fund mobilisation is just `5,000 crore. This has led to financial indiscipline," he said.

Stay up to date on all the latest Bengaluru news with The New Indian Express App. Download now
(Get the news that matters from New Indian Express on WhatsApp. Click this link and hit 'Click to Subscribe'. Follow the instructions after that.)

Comments

Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the newindianexpress.com editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on newindianexpress.com are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of newindianexpress.com or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. newindianexpress.com reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp