Sculptor still awaits BBMP funds

While Vishnuvardhan fans may be disappointed after demands to have their icon's statue installed within the KFCC premises failed to bear fruit, the sculptor who made the statue of Dr Rajkumar, which graces the front of the office, has mixed feelings.

B C Shivakumar (44) sculpted the bust of Dr Rajkumar and now the statue of Dr Vishnuvardhan, and he is beaming because he has been paid in full for the 90 kg busts of both the iconic stars.

BBMP had entrusted C J Nagraj with the job of sculpting a statue of Dr
Rajkumar in 2007, but the civic body hasn't taken delivery of the
10-foot-tall bronze statue as yet

However, another city-based sculptor is not that fortunate and is paying a huge price for being oblivious to the general laidback attitude of government bodies.

C J Nagaraj (31) bagged the BBMP contract for sculpting a 13-foot bronze statue in honour of the late superstar Dr Rajkumar in February, 2007.

However, he is still in a debt trap because the BBMP has not taken delivery of the statue or paid him for four years.

The estimated cost for the statue was Rs 13 lakh and the BBMP had paid Nagaraj just Rs 8 lakh as advance. Later, his woes multiplied as the project was revised upwards and he has spent over Rs 26 lakh so far.

Nagraj had been told to finish the order within three months of signing the contract and was thereby forced to take loans from acquaintances to deliver on time.

The civic body failed to take delivery of the statue from Nagraj because a petition was filed with the HC over erecting it at a spot between Ravindra Kalkshetra and Town Hall, off J C Road.

In the petition, Putte Gowda, president, Lawyers' Association, stated that the statue would obstruct the view of the statue of Kittur Chennamma, following which the court asked the BBMP to locate an alternative spot.

Nagraj said, "A new location could have been identified immediately after the court verdict, but it has been over four years and is proving costly since I have to pay interest on the loan I have taken."

His financial woes however include rent for keeping the statue at a welding shop near Magadi Road since he cannot accommodate it at his workshop.

"I will meet Rajkumar's sons and ask for help. At least they could put pressure on the BBMP to take the idol and make the payment," he said.

Cutting red tape?
Chandrashekar, executive engineer, BBMP, in-charge of the case, said, "We have identified an alternative spot for the statue near Town Hall. However, the government hasn't cleared the proposal.

We haven't received clearances from the concerned authorities despite sending them several reminders."

When asked when the BBMP would clear Nagaraj's dues, Chandrashekar said, "He will get his payment only after we take delivery of the statue.

The agreement between the civic body and Nagaraj states that we cannot take delivery until we get clearance from the government."

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