Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on inauguration spree as election nears

BENGALURU: With assembly elections just over a month away, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah has gone on an inauguration spree along with city development minister K J George and mayor Sampath Raj. Several projects which the CM inaugurated recently, however, are yet to be thrown open to the public as they are far from completion. The situation is the same across the state as reports of projects being inaugurated by netas ahead of completion have come in from most of the major cities in Karnataka. While the volume of such projects might be higher in the capital, it seems that the ministers are using the ruse of inaugurations to claim credit for projects across the state.

As the election code of conduct will stop politicians from launching new welfare programmes like construction of roads, provision of drinking water facilities, or taking part in any ribbon-cutting ceremonies, the government seems to be in a rush to hastily inaugurate as many projects as possible before it is put in force.Some of the works ‘inaugurated’ by Siddaramaiah last week include the signal free corridor at Okalipuram, multi-level parking next to Freedom Park, the Hennur flyover, work for which is going on for the last one decade, an alternative road from Begur to Kempegowda International Airport and others.

Some of these works are not even half complete, even then the netas decided to go ahead with inauguration. These works, though not completed, but inaugurated are closed temporarily. On March 14, the CM is going to inaugurate a 60 MLD Sewage Treatment Plant at Kengeri, much before it is likely to start functioning.The inauguration spree has left the BBMP officials worried as well. According to a senior official, the government had been advised that these projects were not complete. “They insisted on inaugurating them anyways. Some of these projects are long term projects. Utility shifting is the major challenge and so these projects were delayed. Some of these works will complete between June and September this year. But then, if the minister or the CM wants to inaugurate, we cannot say anything. These netas will inaugurate and go. Public blames us for not completing work even after inauguration,’’ the official said.

Padmanabha Reddy, Leader of Opposition in the BBMP Council said the current speed at which projects are being ‘launched’ made it seem like the government and CM were sleeping for 4 years and 10 months. “Now that elections are approaching, they have come out of slumber. If they had so much concern, why didn’t they ensure completion of these projects on time. Just because the code of conduct will be enforced in the next few days, the ruling Congress wants to take the credit of the projects by inaugurating incomplete works,’’ he added.

V Ravi Chandar, civic evangelist, told The New Indian Express, “Any government wants to take the credit for their budgeted work. Though these are done symbolically, final opening for public will be done only after completion. The authorities will start working at a fast pace if the inauguration is approaching. But work will slow down after the inauguration is over. There should be some norm for inauguration, at least 80 per cent work should be completed.”

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