Ease Bengaluru’s Water Woes Using Rainwater Harvesting: Civic Body
The BBMP budget laid down measures to prevent encroachment of lake beds and to rejuvenate existing live lakes.
With the Karnataka Assembly elections around the corner, the annual budget of the Congress-Janata Dal (Secular) coalition-led Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) announced on 28 February in Bengaluru placed emphasis on water conservation in the city.
Bengaluru’s drinking water woes have been in the news recently with the city featured at the second position in a list published by the BBC on 11 February, of cities in the world likely to run out of drinking water.
Taking note of depleting groundwater levels in Bengaluru, the BBMP will focus on rainwater harvesting within the city, with 10 percent of the total estimated expenditure reserved for the construction of rainwater harvesting structures in drains.
Rainwater harvesting structures will also be constructed in all parks maintained by the BBMP, in nurseries and open spaces of the Palike and in buildings, school and college premises, with a total amount of Rs 12 crore earmarked for it.
Tax and Finance Standing Committee Chairman M Mahadev, who is part of the JD(S), presented the budget at the BBMP office in Corporation Circle outlining a total of Rs 9,322 crore for various projects to be taken up in the city.
This is the first time since the JD(S)-Congress coalition came to power in the BBMP that the JD(S) has been handed the finance portfolio.
Along with the announcement of intensified efforts to conserve water, Mahadev announced a slew of measures to prevent encroachment of lake beds and to rejuvenate existing live lakes with Rs 20 crore set aside for the development of 40 lakes.
The announcement comes after a committee headed by Karnataka Assembly Speaker KB Koliwad had presented an extensive report in the Assembly that revealed that over 10,000 acres of lake area has been encroached in Bengaluru Urban and Rural districts.
Several citizen movements have cropped up in the city to protect Bellandur, Pattandur Agrahara, Nallurahalli and Varthur lakes from illegal constructions and encroachment.
Several Other Measures Announced
- Helipads to be constructed in all 8 zones to provide air ambulance service and for easy movement of VIPs in the city. Rs 5 crore has been earmarked for the first phase of the project.
- Aadhaar-based biometric attendance to be made mandatory for BBMP workers, pourakarmikas and a number of individual beneficiary schemes.
- Advertisement bylaws will be amended to control the cropping up of hoardings. Hoardings currently put up will be removed and a penalty will be levied.
- Free WiFi to be introduced in 400 spots in major roads, BBMP offices and bus stands.
- Minimum wages for pourakarmikas to be increased.
- The country’s first ‘Engineered Wood Pedestrian Skywalk’ to come up at Hudson Circle.
- A revenue vigilance cell to be constituted under the Special Commissioner (Finance) to monitor property tax and to bring evaders into the tax net.
- A ‘Pink Baby’ scheme to be started to provide Rs 5 lakh fixed deposit to each ‘first girl child’ born on or after 1 January 2019 in the 24 maternity hospitals of the Palike.
- The penalty amount for dumping waste into drains and lakes will be Rs 1 lakh, while Rs 5 lakh will be levied for subsequent offences.
(The story was first published on The News Minute and has been republished here with permission.)
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