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Highest kickbacks - the new norm

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While the BJP is rightfully on the offensive against the colossal misdeeds vis-a-vis the CWG, in its own backyard, instances of financial impropriety, though not on such a big scale as in Delhi, have come to light.

Take the Global Investors’ Meet (GIM) held in Bangalore in June. For the BJP and its chief minister B S Yeddyurappa, it was no doubt a big achievement. But the money spent on the event was a mindboggling Rs 29.2 crore. All taxpayers’ money. The citizens don’t grudge it as long as the funds were utilised judiciously. But details of money spent, given by the government itself on the floor of the legislative assembly, are shocking.
Like the CWG treadmills costing Rs 4 lakh each but hired for Rs 9.75 lakh each, CCTVs for GIM, that cost around Rs 15,000 each, were hired at Rs 30,555 a piece. Shouldn’t hiring charges be less than the cost price? Funds spent on other items are equally exorbitant. The shamiana and stage cost Rs 8.9 crore; Rs 4.69 lakh was spent on a single hoarding; Rs 1.98 crore was given as fee for a media consultant. The food bill was Rs 3.8 crore. Publicity and advertisements took away a large chunk of the funds.
CWG or GIM, it’s an open secret that funds are misused during such huge government-sponsored events. Thanks to media exposes and stinging indictment by statutory bodies like the CVC and CAG, the CWG scam came to light. It would have otherwise remained under the carpet. We, the people, want the CWG to be a grand success and the GIM to yield dividends. But as taxpayers, we are outraged over shoddy work and rampant corruption. Someone like the Lokayukta must inquire into the GIM extravaganza. It’s certain to open the Pandora’s box.
Misuse of funds is not confined to major events like CWG and GIM. RTI revelations accessed by TOI show that road works in Bangalore are being done at costs disproportionate to the work executed. The city corporation spent a whopping Rs 27 lakh for asphalting a 500-metre stretch in one locality. According to urban planners, it shouldn’t cost more than Rs 1 lakh. Such instances are galore.

For the full report in the TOI, click here.

From 'lowest quotation', the norm for awarding of government contracts appears to have become 'highest kickbacks'

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