Bengaluru: Congress leader and former Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah today lashed out at the state’s ruling BJP government, accusing it of neglecting his flagship ‘Indira Canteens’ by not providing funds and saying that the civic body Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) to run it, instead of operating the canteens itself.
However, the BBMP, too, is waiting for fund allocation from the state government to run the canteens.
Speaking to news agency ANI, Siddaramaiah said that he had heard that the government isn’t providing funds for the Indira Canteens and saying that the BBMP should run the same. He added that there are 190 Indira Canteens in Bengaluru, all of which should be run by the state government and not BBMP.
Siddaramaiah, as the Chief Minister, had announced Indira Canteens in his state budget speech in June 2017 and earmarked Rs 100 crore for the project. The canteen incurred an expenditure of Rs 124 crore in 2017-18. In 2018-19, new CM HD Kumaraswamy allocated Rs 115 crore for the project, of which nearly half, i.e Rs 58 crore was spent by the BBMP to run the canteen over the last two years.
However, no funds were allocated by the government for the year 2019-20. The state now has a new government, under BJP’s BS Yeddiyurappa, but the funds have still not been allocated.
The BBMP, on its part, has appealed to the Urban Development Department (UDD) to release Rs 58 crore that was spent over the last two years and another Rs 152 crore to run the canteen this year. The appeal, however, has been of no use as the UDD has told the BBMP, in no uncertain terms, that it will not release any funds for the canteen.
The canteens were launched with the aim to provide food in civic wards in districts and talukas of Karnataka. However, these have churned out massive losses both for the government and the contractors.