BENGALURU: As expected before an election year, many sops have been announced for Bengaluru in the Budget: Namma canteen in each ward, 1,000 toilets, free water for underprivileged groups and more.
Pedestrian-friendly steps are a standout feature of this Budget. White topping projects, TenderSure roads and improvement of 200 kms of footpath; all will make Bengaluru streets safer for pedestrians.
The focus on public transport continues with 3,000 new buses, allotment for commuter rail and the earlier announcements on Metro rail project. Though there has been no reduction
BMTC needs to go in for an asset light model with external operators and the Metro needs to shore up its execution efficiency. Reduced private vehicle use and air pollution have been targeted through autorickshaw upgradation.
BWSSB mentions bringing down unaccounted-for water to 40%, which is desirable. More emphasis, though, should have been given on conservation measures, rain water harvesting and over-exploitation of ground water.
Budget tends to promise a lot but how much will be implemented remains to be seen.
Execution plans, as of now, don’t inspire confidence.
The budget is silent on what was done with `7,300 crore allocated last year for Bengaluru. It is highly unlikely that the money will be spent this year too since the capacity of the BBMP to execute large volumes of work efficiently in a timely manner is very poor. The water and sewerage connection project for 110 villages has been around since 2008.
The ability of the BDA to develop a modern township in Konadasanapura is doubtful given their past track record. Since 2018 is an election year, announcements need to be translated to works on ground, which is required for electoral benefits.
V Ravichandar, Civic evangelist