Karnataka contractors accuse BBMP officials of demanding 50% cut to clear bills

According to contractors, the BBMP is yet to clear bills amounting to ₹3,200 crore, and a few of them are as old as 22 months.

BySaurav Kumar

Published Aug 26, 2022 | 7:00 AM Updated Aug 26, 2022 | 7:00 AM

Contractor met the BBMP chief seeking to clear bills pending up to ₹3200crore.

A day after the Karnataka State Contractors Association made an appeal to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to take stringent action BJP-led state government for not clearing pending bills, the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike Contractors Association (BBMPCA) accused BBMP officials of demanding a 50 percent commission to clear their pending bills.

Members of the BBMPCA on Wednesday, 24 August,  made a petition to BBMP chief Tushar Girinath alleging that department officials were seeking 50 percent of the bills just to clear them.

BBMPCA president KT Manjunath told South First, “We are fed up with the commission demands being made by BBMP officials to clear our bills.”

He added: “The BBMP is yet to clear our bills, some of which are as old as 22 months. The BBMP has to clear ₹3,200 crore in pending bills to the contractors.”

He also said: “We are being harassed due to the clearance procedure. Earlier, officials used to take 40 percent of the billing amount, but now they are demanding 50 percent.”

The BBMPCA president further added that around 1,500 contractors have accused the BBMP of corruption.

Multiple inspections

According to Manjunath, first, the file of a project is reviewed and approved by an assistant engineer, assistant executive engineer, executive engineer, and chief engineer.

He added that after the engineers approve the file, it is then reviewed by the Technical Vigilance Cell under the Commissioner (TVCC).

“The TVCC repeats the whole process of inspection and once it clears the files, payments are made,” Manjunath explained.

He added, “The more the delay, the higher the commission.”

The TVCC was formed in 2006 to ensure the quality of civic works, clearing bills, and audit work. It is known to have exposed a series of financial irregularities in the BBMP.

Gopinath told reporters that curbing the current processes would be discussed in meetings with officials without compromising the transparency measures.

With BBMP elections around the corner, the allegations by civic body contractors have again exposed the underbelly of corruption in government bodies.

Congress MLA and former minister Priyank Kharge told South First, “The corruption allegations by the BBMP contractors’ association is the first of its kind.”

Kharge, who had already tweeted on Wednesday about the allegations and their repercussions, told South First that the bribe rate had also “increased”!

Kharge added, “Consecutive allegations of corruption are proof that the chief minister is not interested in governance and is busy dividing society.”

Meanwhile, the Karnataka High Court a few days ago slammed the statement government on corruption and stated that no file was moved without a bribe in government offices.