The BJP on Saturday refuted allegations made by Ivan D’Souza, former MLC, that there was large-scale irregularities in the projects taken up in the city under the Smart City Mission.
Addressing presspersons, general secretary of the BJP Dakshina Kannada unit Sudhir Shetty Kannur denied that there was threefold increase in the estimated cost of the projects.
He said the costs had been estimated as per the scheduled rate fixed by the Public Works Department. He said the Managing Director of Mangaluru Smart City Ltd. enjoyed powers to sanction projects costing up to ₹5 crore. The high-power committee of the government approved projects costing above ₹5 crore and upto ₹50 crore. Projects costing ₹200 crore and above will have to be approved by the Cabinet. All estimates under the mission will have to be approved by the Board of the company.
Mr. Shetty said that 60% estimates of the projects taken up under the mission had been made in the last two-and-half years under the Congress regime when it was leading the city corporation council. The Congress had only decided on the projects to be taken up under area based development in eight wards. As Mr. D’Souza, at a press conference on Thursday, had sought an enquiry by the Anti Corruption Bureau or Lokayukta into the alleged irregularities, the BJP welcomes it as the projects got underway during the Congress regime.
He said the projects were under progress in eight wards.
Premananda Shetty, Whip in the council led by the BJP, said the projects had got a fillip since a year. The detailed project report for river front development is being prepared now. The BJP has not sidelined this project, he said.
Referring to the housing project proposed near Shakthi Nagar for the poor, Mr. Shetty said the corporation has taken steps to deposit ₹60 lakh with the Forest Department to remove trees in the project site and compensatory afforestation in 20 acres of land reserved for compensatory afforestation in Tenka Edapadavu village.
The “goof up” done by the Congress by not following the due procedures of a housing project has now forced the present administration to re-invite bids to take up construction of houses under the same project, Mr. Shetty alleged.
Mayor Diwakar was present.