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Somanna wants profit-making KSPHC to be wound up

Karnataka Bureau

The corporation is the first to introduce e-tendering

— Photo: K. Murali Kumar

A JEWEL IN THE CROWN: A model of the proposed office of the Commissioner of Police in Bangalore that is being executed by KSPHC.

BANGALORE: As soon as he occupied his chair on Monday, the newly sworn-in Housing and Muzrai Minister V. Somanna declared that he wanted the Karnataka State Police Housing Corporation (KSPHC) — a profit-making ISO 9001-2000 certified company and the first government agency in the country to adopt transparent e-tendering — to be wound up and all its projects taken over by the Housing Department.

Mr. Somanna justified his move by claiming the KSPHC’s performance had been poor in the execution of housing programmes for policemen.

The Minister, who was brought into the Cabinet at the cost of S.N. Krishnaiah Setty, was speaking to reporters at his new office in Vidhana Soudha. Mr. Somanna said: “Only 35 per cent of the police personnel in the State have got residential quarters. If my department is given the mandate, we will get residential quarters for all within four years. “I will discuss the proposal with Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa and Home Minister V.S. Acharya.”

The KSPHC has carved a niche for itself among hundreds of government housing agencies in the country for its initiatives, including e-tendering of projects, web-based project monitoring and e-commerce.

It earned a profit of Rs. 13.16 crore in 2007-08, after its ‘no profit-no loss’ status was changed into that of a corporate entity.

Colleague’s no

On his part, however, Dr. Acharya ruled out any possibility of winding up the corporation. “KSPHC has been doing a commendable job albeit its pace has slowed down a bit these days.

“I am convening a meeting next week to expedite the ongoing projects.”

KSPHC has been executing works to the tune of Rs. 435 crore and is expected to take up projects worth Rs. 1,500 crore in the next three years to build 70,000 quarters for police personnel.

Flawed move

Retired Director-General and Inspector-General of Police R. Sri Kumar, in whose tenure as the Chairman and Managing Director, KSPHC became a robust corporate entity, told The Hindu that the corporation was capable of becoming a public limited company on its own in three years and generating funds on its own for the construction of houses for policemen without any government assistance.

Not a burden

A senior KSPHC official, pointing out that every State had individual police housing corporations, said that most police housing projects were funded by the Union Government through PHCs, and if KSPHC was wound up, it was doubtful if the State would get the funds, the officer said.

Unlike other departments or agencies, KSPHC was not dependent on the Government for its day-to-day operations, including paying its employees, he added.

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