Govt will use BBMP division as an excuse to delay polls: CAF

If BBMP council doesn't exist, the tools of citizen participation, ie, ward committees and Metropolitan Planning Committee will not function, says CAF.

Bengaluru-based Citizen Action Forum (CAF) has suspected a possible delay of BBMP election due to Palike restructuring process, and said it should be opposed.

Addressing media persons here on Thursday, January 23rd, 2015, CAF Secretary Mahalakshmi Parthasarathy said that the Forum fears that the State government would use restructuring as an excuse to delay the election.

“The BBMP election has to happen in time. Inordinate delay would only hamper the process of forming functional Metropolitan Planning Council and ward committees. The government issued an order on November 19, 2014, mentioning that the restructuring committee report has to be submitted within three months. In contrast, the Committee members have said that it would take a longer time to submit comprehensive report,” she added.

She also demanded that the government delink the election from restructuring process. The delay in election would also end up in giving more power to bureaucrats, curbing the power of councillors who will also be the chairpersons of respective ward committees. More power should be entrusted with the elected representatives than bureaucrats, Mahalakshmi stressed.

‘Restructuring not necessary’

CAF members also opposed the government’s plan to restructure BBMP. Forum member N S Mukund predicted that restructuring will not help in reducing financial burden on the BBMP. It will not result in better governance. “Need of the hour is decentralisation of not just power, but also resources. Decentralisation is a better way to improvise governance than restructuring. Departments like BWSSB, electricity, transport should be brought under local governance to generate additional revenue,” he urged.

He said measures like mandated devolution of funds to BBMP independent of the State government, formation of area sabha, ward committees and MPC as per provisions of the 74th amendment would contribute to better governance of the city.

CAF President Rajshekhar D S asked the government to issue a white paper on reasons for the governance deficit and a clear road map for ensuring effective governance for Bengaluru.

He also expressed concern over division of BBMP, resulting in decreasing the power of municipal elected representatives and bureaucrats becoming more powerful. “This will obviously incur more expenses specially at a time when BBMP is already reeling under financial deficit,” he added.

CAF also questioned as to why the restructuring committee has made no mention of MPC. The Forum has written a letter to Chief Minister Siddaramaiah explaining their apprehensions and seeking answers to their questions.

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