The Karnataka government has lately been facing the heat following expenditure on coronavirus, from the opposition. This week, the state government announced that it will be building a Rs 200 crore guesthouse at Tirumala, Andhra Pradesh for devotees who visit the shrine.
The groundbreaking ceremony for the project is scheduled for August. However, following the announcement earlier in the week, now this new budget has drawn criticism especially from the opposition since the budget last year in July stood at Rs 26 crores for the same project.
Opposition calls foul over GoK's budget for guesthouse
The Karnataka government's announcement by the revenue department of the budget for the proposed guesthouse in Tirumala was issued on Monday. The plan to build the guesthouse was already in the works last year.
The initial plan of the guesthouse was to have 70 rooms with a capacity to accommodate 150 pilgrims in 58.741.20 square feet of land. The updated plan, however, will include 12 dormitories for 140 pilgrims, 305 single rooms for 610 pilgrims, 24 suite rooms, 4 double suite rooms, one Kalyana Mantapa, parking space for buses and cars, roads, landscaping and gardens — the statement from the Revenue Department said which will be housed in 322,545 square feet of land i.e. 7.5 acres.
The groundbreaking ceremony will be held in August this year for the same, the statement read. The budget for the guesthouse was approved in the last cabinet meeting. The revenue department associated the rise in cost to the proportion of area increase in the project. However, the question stands whether such a massive project is advisable in the current times.
Former CM HD Kumaraswamy said, "Just when I was CM ₹ Tirupati Housing Scheme for Rs 26 crore to 200 crores in a single year, in government." He further questioned, "The state government is giving TTD Rs 200 crore, Rs 5 crore (Rs 10 crore) to a private agency for design and architecture. Is the State Department of Public Works unable to carry out this project? No one in the department to design?"
Row over COVID funds
The opposition in the state, specifically Congress has been calling out the ruling government for mismanagement of COVID funds. This drew ire from Yediyurappa who over the weekend during a meeting with BBMP officials cracked the whip to tell officials that no such complaints should be heard about lack of transparency and questions of expenditure.
After it was pointed out that BBMP would be renting rather than buying amenities for Bengaluru International Exhibition Centre (BIEC), the matter has created a cause of concern on the huge bills the government will be drawing in a time of deep financial crisis.
Revenue Minister R Ashok said on Wednesday that the government has kept track of every paisa spent on COVID-19. Countering Siddaramaiah's claims he said, "Now Siddaramaiah should not come to the modus operandi. 3,500 crore for corona control. But we have spent only 400 crores." He also added that all the amenities purchased will be reused.
Moreover, the CM's office issued a press release on Wednesday stating that now all the items needed will be set up at an initial cost of Rs 7.32 crores by BBMP and a monthly cost of 4.23 crores a drastic decrease from the estimate Rs 24 crores that BBMP would have spent per month.