BBMP, BMTC, BWSSB, BESCOM sign MoUs with San Francisco

The recent MoU between the BBMP and the City and Council of San Francisco focuses on waste management. Will it make a difference?

Wonder why the Mayor of San Francisco visited Namma Bengaluru recently? What is common factor between Bangalore and San Francisco? Both cities are IT hubs, have pleasant weather and good educational institutions. But the similarities don’t end here – they are ‘Sister Cities’ too.

The concept of sister cities came into being as a means of fostering cultural ties between two towns, cities, even countries from geographically different areas. Bangalore is twinned with four cities – San Francisco and Cleveland in North America, Minsk in Belarus (there is apparently a Bangalore Square in Minsk) and most recently, Chengdu in China.

San Francisco Mayor and BBMP Mayor signing Memorandum of Understanding during the former’s recent visit to Bangalore. Pic courtesy: BBMP PRO

Bengaluru’s tryst with San Francisco began in 2008, when the San Francisco – Bangalore Sister City Initiative was set up to engage individuals and institutions in both cities to create sustainable 21st century cities. Sub-committees in the areas of Arts and Performance, Business and Trade Facilitation, Cross Border Entrepreneurship, Education and Healthcare, Infrastructure and Better Government, Women’s and Children’s issues and Leadership 2020 were established.

Working Groups will be formed by representatives from each City stakeholders to promote collaboration and cooperation in the following programmes:

With BMTC:

Intelligent Transport System:
1.    What are the challenges in the implementation and how to overcome?
a)    Vehicle Tracking System
b)    Electronic Ticket collection system (ETM)
c)    Passenger information system
2.    How to overcome google map, thus
a)    Road navigation not as per Bus operation
b)    Exclusive BMTC bus bays/ service roads not included in map
3.    How to achieve accuracy in vehicle travelled distance given by Vehicle tracking unit? 

Urban Mass Transport system:
1.    Planning of feeder services
2.    Infrastructure for feeder services
3.    How to implement Common mobility ticketing system?
4.    What are the methods of Revenue sharing?
5.    How to decongest the traffic jams?
6.    Construction bus bays
7.    Master planning of Integrated Multi Model Rapid Transport System (MMRTS)

•    Development of Water Shortage Contingency Plan and Shortage Allocation Plan including procedures for water availability assessment and declaration of shortages
•    Development and implementation of policies to conserve water and recharge of groundwater
•    Development of non-potable water supplies such as recycled water, rain water, gray water to meet non-potable demands for irrigation, commercial and toilet flushing.
•    Monitoring and measurement of water leaks and development of solutions to minimize water leaks
•    Programs to protect water quality and aquatic habitats through the use of sanitary surveys and Habitat Conservation Plans
•    Water Contamination Warning System Feasibility and Implementation

•    Best practices of Transmission system knowledge transfer
•    Renewable Energy integration into the existing and proposed Transmission scheme
•    Study on impact of INDIA GREEN CORRIDOR proposed for exclusively Renewable Energy evacuation
•    Best practices in Wind forecasting- knowledge transfer
•    Best practices in Load dispatch using weather forecasting
•    Transmission management Expert training program on long term basis
•    R&D centre for improving of Transmission system

•  Smart Grid Feasibility and Implementation
•  DSM (Demand Side Management)
•  Best practices on Customer services and Preventive Maintenance
•  Energy Efficiency programs
•  Distribution management, technology Intervention
•  Knowledge transfer on Energy solutions

•  Development of projects in Bangalore region with respect to Chennai‐ Bangalore and Mumbai‐ Bangalore Industrial Corridor.
•  Development of Business and industrial parks of international standards with private participation.
•  Development of City Gas distribution (CGD), best practices.
•  Opportunities with NIMZ (National Investment & Manufacturing Zone) in 12500 Acres near Bangalore (Tumkur)
•  Knowledge transfer on Master Planning of comprehensive infrastructure projects.

In November 2009, MoUs were signed with the BBMP and the BWSSB, to foster a mutual exchange of ideas, expertise and best practices for better urban management for a period of three years. The areas of focus here were water, sewage, solid waste management, parks, environment, health and education. As per the MoUs, Bangalore was to collaborate with various departments in the San Francisco council to work on the following issues:

  • Development of water, wastewater and power management systems
  • Solid waste management to achieve zero waste
  • Greening of Bangalore
  • Restoration of lakes
  • Improve quality of urban health
  • Improve the standard of education

On enquiring with the Mayor, B S Sathyanarayana, as to what has happened since then, he said, “Each and every year there have been meetings happening on sister city initiatives. So concerned city minister, mayor and commissioner (Government) should take proper steps to implement the MOU which was signed between the cities.”

Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, Chairperson and Managing Director, Biocon Limited and a member of the Board of Directors, San Francisco – Bangalore Sister City Initiative, had this to say about the progress: “Not too much has happened since then as there have been four chief ministers since then and this is not exactly top priority. Most of the projects were meant to be in the private sector.”

Other MoUs with private sector

Apart from collaborating with local governing bodies, MoUs were also signed with
a) NIFT, Bangalore and Academy of Art University
b) Biocon Limited and The University of California, San Francisco (UCSan Francisco) and
c) BioPure Healthcare, eHealth TBI and The University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC).

With NIFT, it was a student and faculty exchange programme which has since been extended to all NIFT campuses across India. With Biocon and UCSF, the MoU implied collaboration in various areas such as Drug Development programs, Scientist Exchange Programs and New Therapies for Important Diseases among others. BioPure and eHealth TBI were to collaborate on entrepreneurship initiatives, entrepreneurship development programs and opportunities for start-up in SEZ areas among others.

With respect to what can be achieved by means of the recent union, Kiran Shaw adds, “I do believe there are various opportunities to partner with universities and hospitals. One outcome of the Twin City MoU is the partnership between Stanford University and NCBS in Stem Cell Research. We can do a lot more. Another example of this growing connect between the two cities is Embrace, a small start-up born out of Stanford which developed its product, a low cost baby warmer or incubator entirely in Bangalore. Embrace won the Economist Innovator award this year. Another company Reametrix founded by Paulo Alto-based Entrepreneur Bala Manian has developed high end diagnostics with a team in Bangalore. Sutter Healthcare from San Francisco is also in discussion with various healthcare providers including Narayana Healthcare.”

More MoUs this time too

An Executive Mayoral Delegation visited Bangalore between November 29 and December 5. There were 11 MoUs signed between the two cities during this visit.

The 11 MoUs are signed with:
1) Tourism Department (exchange of cultural programs and performances, facilitating partnerships between artists etc)
2) Visveswaraya Trade Promotion Center (VTPC – Part of Department of Industries and Commerce) (Formation of a working group, identifying suitable office space in both the cities for India-SF Board and Bangalore/Karnataka office which would be provided rent-free, recruitment and funding decisions by respective bodies in both the cities, etc)
3) Kannada and Culture Department (Cultural exchange)
4) Health Department (Collaboration in the area of Telemedicine, Innovation, Entrepreneurship, Best practices and protocols in the field of medicine)
5) TiE Silicon Valley, XBE-Cross Border Entrepreneurship, Indian Stepss and Business Incubators Association (ISBA) and Government of Karnataka (Aims to usher in a new breed of entrepreneurs in India who think ‘global’ and ‘product’, and to take such ideas to the execution stage by proper funding etc. Budget to be provided by the Government of Karnataka, while selection process and other processes will be done by the other signatories)
6) Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) (explained in box)
7) Karnataka Power Transmission Corporation Ltd. (KPTCL) (explained in box)
8) Karnataka State Industrial & Infrastructure Development Corporation (KSIIDC) (explained in box)
9) Bangalore Electricity Supply Company Ltd (BESCOM)
10) Karnataka Renewable Energy Development Ltd (KREDL) (Renewable Energy Opportunities -Solar, Small wind turbines, Customer focused Solar rooftop scheme implementation programs, Renewable Energy Incubation Canters -Rural focus))
11) Bangalore Water Supply and Sewage Board (BWSSB) (explained in box)

The MoU signed between the San Francisco City Council and BBMP focuses on Solid Waste Management. A working group with representatives from Bangalore and San Francisco will be formed to collaborate on the key areas identified – recyclables, compostable/digestible materials and consumer and producer responsibility.

It’s no secret that Bangalore’s is drowning under its garbage. The Mayor said, “We need to solve garbage problem in the city, which has made international news unfortunately. Until this problem is solved we cannot move towards recycling of garbage. For example our landfills have more than 10,000 tons of garbage which needs to be cleared first on priority basis.”

He adds, “This year we have signed 11 MoUs – one MOU with BBMP on waste management. In this MOU we are basically looking forward to import the technology which has been used in San Francisco for solid waste management. Better technology would lead to better ways of segregating garbage in the city and solve garbage and dumping yard problem soon.”

According to an article on, which is an equivalent of the BBMP site for San Franciso, Mayor Edwin Lee stated that San Francisco recycles about 80% of the waste it produces and that recycling alone creates 10 time more jobs than by sending refuse to a landfill. Only time will tell if this is to be the case for Bangalore as well. 

Hopefully with the new MoU in place, Bangalore can learn a few lessons from her sister and emulate how San Francisco manages its waste successfully.




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What a pity! Foreigners miss Mayor’s presentation on tackling garbage!


  1. Santosh B R says:

    Just another gimmick by our corrupt babus… Political parties like the congress or bjp cannot bring any changes to bangalore.. People of bangalore should learn from delhi and choose lok satta or aam aadmi in upcoming elections…



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