What Bengaluru’s new Mayor can build on: A summary of Gangambike Mallikarjun’s work

As Bengaluru elects its new Mayor today, here is a look at what the outgoing Mayor Gangambike Mallikarjun accomplished in her tenure, and what she advocated for

Today, the BBMP Council elected M Gowtham Kumar as Bengaluru’s new Mayor. Kumar, the BJP corporator from Jogupalya ward, replaces Gangambike Mallikarjun of the Congress.

Here is a look at Gangambike’s accomplishments, and the causes she had taken up in her tenure as Mayor.

  • Pushing for ward committee meetings: In BBMP Council’s monthly session in November 2018, Gangambike announced that ward committee meetings should mandatorily be held in all 198 wards on the first Saturday of each month, starting immediately. Her announcement came after the city’s civic activists ran several campaigns for the cause over the years. Ward committee meetings are seen as a big step towards improving Bengaluru’s local governance and honouring the 74th constitutional amendment.
  • Plastic ban: Gangambike emphasised on a strict plastic ban through her tenure. She herself has been fined twice for plastic use, most recently in August when she approached BBMP to pay the fine voluntarily. In June, she directed officials to take strict action against shopkeepers who still used plastic covers. In July, she led BBMP raids to seize plastic items from shops. She also met school principals and urged them to create awareness on the ban among children.
  • Crematoriums/burial grounds: Residents in various areas had requested BBMP to erect new crematoriums and ensure the upkeep of burial grounds, and BBMP earmarked Rs 40 crore for this. Under the Gangambike’s guidance, BBMP scouted for land and announced the construction of nine new crematoriums across the city.
  • Nipah Helpline: Gangambike issued a circular to BBMP hospitals and primary healthcare centres (PHCs) in all 198 wards to strengthen surveillance, immediately after the Nipah outbreak in Kerala. BBMP also set up consultation kiosks on Nipah in its 85 PHCs, 24 maternity hospitals and six referral hospitals. Special helplines were also set up for the public to clarify doubts.
  • Surprise inspection of potholes: Gangambike began her tenure announcing that she would inspect Bengaluru roads and ensure they were pothole-free. During her tenure she has carried out several inspections across the city, however there hasn’t been significant changes in the condition of roads.
  • Fewer PoP Ganesha idols: As per BBMP’s data, only a small percentage of Ganesha idols immersed in lakes this year were made of Plaster of Paris. In addition to BBMP’s campaigns to prevent PoP idol use, Gangambike personally had campaigned on the issue. However, several citizens and conservation groups have pointed out that the PoP idol ban wasn’t entirely effective.
  • Inspection on TDR (Transferable Development Rights) scams: After a discussion on TDR scams in the BBMP Council in July, Gangambike said that a committee, that includes councillors from various parties, would be formed to investigate the issue. This committee comprising the Mayor, Opposition Leader and others visited Bommanahalli and Mahadevapura zones in August. However the visits were fruitless since BBMP engineers here had no information related to TDR.

While Gangambike took up several issues that plague the city, the results have been mixed. However, she will be remembered best for initiating ward committee meetings, and thus trying to bring about better accountability in BBMP.

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