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BBMP plans to build road on lake

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The Hindu        10.08.2017  

BBMP plans to build road on lake

The civic body has granted Rs. 8 crore for the construction of a 40 ft asphalted road on the tank bund of Doddabommasandra lake in Vidyaranyapura under the Nagarothana grants.  

The proposed road will be in clear violation of an NGT order that sets buffer zone around lakes at 75 m

Can a tank bund be converted into a pucca asphlated road? The Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) thinks so. The civic body has granted Rs. 8 crore for the construction of a 40 ft asphalted road on the tank bund of Doddabommasandra lake in Vidyaranyapura under the Nagarothana grants.

The road, if built, will be in clear violation of the National Green Tribunal order of May 2016, that has set the buffer zone around lakes at 75 m. The road is on the tank bund and is part of the lake, not even its buffer zone, activists have pointed out. The Karnataka Lake Conservation and Development Authority (KLCDA) has also taken objection to the road and written to the BBMP, said Seema Garg, CEO, KLCDA. B.V. Sathish, Chief Engineer, Lakes, BBMP, also said that the lakes division was not consulted over the road.

This comes months after the local residents led a vociferous campaign against wetlands adjoining the lake being dumped with silt dug up during rejuvenation in October 2016. It was later revealed that plans were afoot to build a park and an open-air gym, a deviation from the Detailed Project Report (DPR). The plans were later dropped following public outcry.

V. Ramprasad, a local resident and a lake conservation activist, said there were unconfirmed reports of wetlands being filled to build a road to access private lands at the other end of the lake, where an apartment was reportedly coming up.

“Then they claimed plans were to develop a park. But now the agenda is clear. They have got a 40 ft wide road sanctioned in clear violation of the tank bed area. The road seems to be under way only to give access to private lands, which we fear will lead to further encroachment of the lake area,” he said.

Madhuri Subbarao, a resident who led the 2016 campaign, said there were repeated attempts to build the road and it was a clear violation of the DPR for the rejuvenation of the lake.

“We have repeatedly complained to BBMP and KLCDA to no effect,” she said. Local civic officials said the tank bund was used as a traditional walkway to connect Doddabommasandra and Kodigehalli for many decades now and the road was being planned following public demand from the residents of Kodigehalli. The road, if laid, will reduce the distance by over 2 km, the officials said. However, the traditional walkway is less than 15 ft wide which is now being widened by dumping debris to over 40 ft, residents complain.

BBMP Commissioner N. Manjunath Prasad said he would examine the road project again.

“The road appears to be in clear violation of NGT order on buffer zones. I hope BBMP abides by KLCDA directions. If it fails to do so, we will be forced to bring it to NGT’s notice

Sridhar Pabbisetty,

CEO, Namma Bengaluru Foundation, also petitioner on buffer zones before NGT


Civic body plans steps to stop fleecing of customers

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The Hindu        10.08.2017  

Civic body plans steps to stop fleecing of customers

Corporation health wing to conduct inspections at malls

The health wing of the Kochi Corporation, in association with the Legal Metrology Department, will conduct inspections at malls and shopping complexes to find out if customers are charged over and above the Maximum Retail Price (MRP) for packaged food products.

The decision of the civic body to crack down on traders who fleece customers was announced by Mayor Soumini Jain on Wednesday.

“After the joint inspections, the civic body will follow them up,” she said. Deputy Mayor T.J. Vinod and councillors V.P. Chandran and Antony Painuthara said cinema hall owners had been exploiting customers.

Mr. Vinod pointed out that some theatre managements had indiscriminately hiked ticket rates after the implementation of Goods and Services Tax (GST).

“Post-GST, the civic bodies have no role in controlling pricing, as taxes are paid online, and tickets need not be stamped by them. This has resulted in huge financial loss on account of entertainment tax. Annually, the Kochi Corporation loses around Rs. 14 crore. It should be compensated,” Mr. Vinod said.

Ms. Jain said the issue would be brought to the notice of the State government.


Tough choices ahead for Corporation

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The Hindu       10.08.2017 

Tough choices ahead for Corporation

Road works stalled as contractors protest over GST charges

The city Corporation is left with some hard choices to bring an end to the tender boycott by its contractors after the implementation of Goods and Services Tax (GST) which has stalled road works in the city. It could either revise the estimates by cutting down on the volume of work, thus earning the displeasure of the councillors or bear the extra costs from its own funds, at a time when it is reeling from loss of entertainment revenues.

The Mayor has called for a meeting with representatives of the six contractors’ unions in the city Corporation to bring an amicable settlement to the issue. Officials from the Taxes Department will also participate to communicate with the contractors.

Last month, all the contractors unions decided to boycott the tender process for works to be carried out in the city roads, citing the increase in their financial burden after the implementation of GST. Earlier, the tax for civil works were fixed at 6%, including Value Added Tax (VAT) of 4%, welfare fund contribution of 1% and income tax of 1%. Post- GST, this tax component has increased to 18%.

Thin margin

“Already, we were having only a thin margin of profits for works taken up in the Corporation. The GST has come as a huge blow. We decided to stay away from the tender process as there was no point in it, if we are not getting any profits from this. The issue can be solved if the Corporation is ready to bear the extra burden,” says contractor Anil.

Though the Corporation officials are hinting at a reduction of the tax to 12% by the GST council, no official decision has been communicated yet.

“By the time GST was implemented, we had got the technical sanctions and began the tender process. Only, VAT was considered in these estimates. Now, revising the estimates is not practical. The councillors will not agree to the cutting down of the already estimated works. The State Government has to take a decision on whether we can revise the estimates or make it up from our own funds. More clarity will be there after the government publishes a revenue note regarding this,” said the Corporation Mayor V.K.Prasanth.

Meanwhile, contractors who are not part of any of the six unions, bid successfully for the tenders of few works in the Kazhakuttam zone. The unions are seeing this as an attempt by the local body to defeat their tender boycott.

  • Mayor has called for a meeting with six contractors’ unions
  • Other contractors bid successfully for tenders in Kazhakuttam zone

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