Meeting on Bengaluru water scarcity takes a dramatic turn

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BENGALURU: A meeting of city MLAs and MLCs on Thursday, chaired by Bengaluru Development Minister K J George, to discuss drinking water woes in the city, turned out to be a scripted drama to announce the cancellation of steel flyover project. Ministers Krishna Byregowda, M Krishnappa, Ramalinga Reddy, M R Seetharam and others were also present.

Suddenly, George announced that the government is dropping the flyover project. “I am ready to face trial, like Seetha’s ‘agni pariksha’,’’ he declared.

Defending the Congress MLAs who raised the issue, Ramalinga Reddy asked, “Do we follow the agenda all the time? Since it is a city-related matter, there is no harm in discussing it. Traffic is also a burning issue.”

Reddy claimed BJP leaders could not give convincing reasons for opposing the project. “If you do not want a steel flyover, you could have at least suggested alternatives — like a concrete flyover. The area is a mess. People will curse you,’’ he told the BJP members.

KPCC working president Dinesh Gundu Rao too added a twist to the drama claiming that some BJP leaders secretly came to Congress and told them to take up the steel flyover project.
“On the other hand, a few others oppose it and some even go to court. Enough is enough. We are getting a bad name because of this,’’ he said.

Krishna Byregowda, however, pitched for the project saying that if traffic woes are not addressed now, it would mean that the government is not thinking about the future. “We get 60 per cent of the revenue from the city. We need to think about the traffic problems here. Do not go back on this project. I represent Byatarayanapura constituency and I know the problems of people living in those areas,’’ he said.

At some point during the meeting, BJP MLA Aravind Limbavali questioned the Congress leaders why the project was being cancelled if they were confident that there were no kickbacks involved. “The CBI or a court will conduct inquiry about the alleged kickbacks. If you are right, you should prove it instead of going back on the project,’’ he said.

Irked by this, Congress ministers and legislators got into heated arguments with the BJP members.