Lok Sabha Elections 2024: What Bengaluru residents and civic groups want their MPs to address

Civic organisations in the city have voiced several concerns and raised demands for clean air, protection of water bodies, and better mobility.

Bengaluru goes to polls on April 26th. As candidates ramp up their campaigning efforts, discussions centre on issues like infrastructure and mobility. Even as political parties have released their manifestos, residents and civic groups from a cross-section of society too have expressed their demands from their MPs. Civic group manifestos include environmental, mobility, employment and healthcare issues.

Here is a compilation of a few citizen manifestos from Bengaluru:

Bangalore Apartments’ Federation (BAF)

BAF is a Federation of Apartment Owners’ Associations (AOA) and Residents’ Welfare Associations (RWA) in Bengaluru. Their demands include: 

  • Commitment to lobby for immediate and high priority conduct of BBMP elections and enable the city council
  • Subsequent commitment to collaborate with constituency MLAs and corporators to enable regular “Meet the Citizens” events, which becomes a platform to connect with citizens and hear their grievances, suggestions and inputs for the city’s development. Also be a citizens’ representative to influence state government on local matters 
  • Be a strong voice of Bengaluru in particular and urban constituencies in general in the Parliament, and fight hard to direct the government’s attention and fair resource allocation towards better urban planning and development. Considering that a significant percentage of the population will reside in cities (20% of Karnataka is in Bengaluru), our city MPs need to be smart, well-informed and aggressive in Parliament in representing urban issues and needs
  • Fight for more resource allocation for Bengaluru in areas of city public transport, more intercity connectivity via rail, environmental policies that recognise each city’s (and Bengaluru’s) uniqueness and relevance in the context of climate change, lobby for more attention of centre towards Bengaluru in setting up science, technology, research, business, innovation hubs and institutions

Read more: Opinion: 11 reasons why voters must look beyond political manifestos


Bahutva Karnataka

Bahutva Karnataka is a coalition promoting justice, harmony and constitutional values. Their demands include: 

  • Prioritise children’s nutrition, healthcare, and education; well-being of gender and sexual minorities 
  • Practice diversity and inclusion of gender, caste, and sexual minorities in all government departments
  • Preserve civil liberties that the Constitution affords us all
  • Consciously choose equity over aggressive and superficial economic growth
  • Celebrate plurality and practice secularism as office bearers
  • Preserve and strengthen the country’s democratic institutions and processes
  • Protect the country’s natural resources and plan for climate change
  • Introduce policies aimed at sustainable and equitable growth and development

Civil Society Forum

Civil Society Forum, facilitated by CIVIC-Bangalore, is a coalition of several civil society organisations and movements as well as individuals wishing to strengthen the electoral and democratic process.

The following have been mentioned in their citizen manifesto relevant to Bengaluru:

  • Mandatory environmental and social impact assessments of projects, programmes, schemes and sectors, through independent agencies, with full  participation of affected communities. Cost benefit analysis of projects to include  environmental cost
  • Revisions of the National and State Action Plans on climate change and disaster plans to fully support vulnerable sections cope with and adapt to the climate crisis  and other disasters
  • Food production through organic, biologically diverse methods; and decentralised  energy production, including rooftop and on-farm methods
  • Legally empower relevant local assemblies like gram sabhas, mohalla sabhas, tribal councils to be part of decision-making, monitoring, enforcement and redressal  structures to improve environmental governance
  • Following due process and facilitation of genuine public consultations in the case of  all large investments, especially industries and infrastructure projects 
  • Legislation to incentivise the manufacture and use of public transport and non-motorised private vehicles and disincentivise the manufacture and use of private cars
  •  Imposing a congestion tax, higher taxes for second and third vehicles, graded parking fees, etc. for disincentivising private vehicles 
  • An accessible, affordable, frequent, reliable, and prioritised bus transport system
  • Cheaper, existing surface rail options for intra-city transport rather than capital-intensive metro options
  •  Effective feeder systems and shared local transport systems to be introduced for last mile connectivity

Sanitation

  • Strict implementation of the Supreme Court’s 14 directions issued in October 2023, including  increase in the compensation to Rs. 30 lakh in case of sewer deaths, Rs. 20 lakhs in  case of permanent disablement or injury and Rs. 10 lakhs in case of disability 
  • The entire process of manual scavenging should be replaced by automation
  • Efficient and eco-friendly collection of solid waste, including segregation at source,  segregated collection in mechanised, closed vehicles to prevent manual handling, containerised storage, local processing of biodegradable waste, recycling of dry  wastes and scientific disposal of rejects as spelt out in the Ministry of Forest &  Environment Rules 2016 need to be implemented as a top priority  

Employment

  • Stop monopolisation by a few big corporates and promote small and medium decentralised production and commerce to create jobs
  • Strengthen local economy to create jobs rather than build capital-intensive, high-end infrastructure such as expressways, airports, etc, which don’t’ create many jobs
  • Reservation for micro/small/medium scale enterprises (MSMEs) of all  products/services, especially handmade articles, that can be made through  community-based producer collectives (such as textiles, footwear, household  goods)
  • Provide at least 150 days of employment guarantee as a fundamental right in both  rural and urban areas to all adults
  • Paying them minimum wages at Rs. 25,000 per month would ensure that everyone’s basic needs are met and that, in addition, land and water conservation and other social goals are met
  • Regularise employment of scheme workers, such as Anganwadi, ASHA, midday meal  workers, etc. 
  • End contractualisation of work that is a core and perennial activity that is carried on  in the establishment

Read their full manifesto here.

Doddanekundi lake
Once one of the most biodiverse lakes in the city, Doddanekundi Lake has steadily deteriorated. Pic: Anirudh Arun

Federation of Bengaluru Lakes 

The Federation of Bengaluru lakes is a partnership of active lake groups that work to conserve, revive and save the lakes and rajakaluve network of Bengaluru through volunteering, campaigning, legal action, etc., to ensure water security. 

While their demands are relevant to Bengaluru, it has the potential to be applicable nationwide, hence policies should be created with a broader perspective:

  • Enforce National Green Tribunal (NGT) buffer zone laws & recommendations 
  • Separate parks, lakes/water bodies. Treat lakes/water bodies as biodiverse environmentally sacred spaces with no horticulture involvement
  • Formulate laws that allow citizen participation
  • Management of lakes at decentralised levels by involving all stakeholders, including all active local members (people’s participation)
  • Decentralise treatment of wastewater with an appropriate policy for reuse
  • Mandatory rainwater harvesting in all new buildings
  • Abolish all senseless freebies (for natural resources – electricity, etc.) 
  • Provide quality education and health to everyone
  • Development of expert system / decision support system (with the regular updation) for water management
  • Rejuvenate lakes and other water bodies
  • Implementation of SWM rule 2016, C & D waste rule 2016, E waste rule 2016, Biomedical waste rule 2016
  • Processing of C and D waste at decentralised levels to convert waste to value added products for reuse

Varthur & Bellandur Lakes Rejuvenation Initiative

The Varthur and Bellandur Lakes inititiave has highlighted the following demands: 

Water management, rainwater harvesting

  • Strict implementation of rainwater harvesting policy and achieving water security in all cities
  • Expand the “million recharge wells” campaign to all Indian cities, by allocating funds to traditional well-diggers community for urban livelihoods mission

Stormwater drain (SWD) management

  • Adopt zero tolerance policy towards stormwater drain (SWD) encroachments and pollution
  • Adopt a policy to declare all SWDs as waterways of the city to carry clean storm or tertiary treated water only

Lake management

  • Introduce the system of asset-based management for each lake. Maintain state-level inventory of lake assets
  • Detailed Project Reports (DPR) of lakes as water sustainability, security, and flood mitigation zones with environmental, ecological, social, recreational and sports in DPR
  • Zero tolerance policy towards lake encroachment and pollution

Water budgeting

  • Make it mandatory to make water budget for every watershed (refer to Karnataka watershed atlas)
  • Make it mandatory to make a long-term water balancing plan for each watershed
  • Make it mandatory to make an annual water balancing plan. This must be aligned with the long-term water balancing plan

Sewage management, regulation of STPs (private and public)

  • Put pressure on the state government to reform the CFE-CFO process (introduce a documented process) to stop pollution. All calculation and performance criteria must be well-defined for all types of STPs
  • Introduce a formal documented procedure for STP hand-over (from builder to RWA)
  • Formally abolish the idea of Zero Liquid Discharge (ZLD) 
  • Introduce data collection format and periodicity for all STPs (private and public)
    UGD management

Solid Waste Management (SWM)

  • Balance the fees for each stage to make it viable for all stake-holders
  • Incorporate the EPR contribution in this value chain
  • Minimise the use fees for the common public
  • Put these documents in the public domain
  • Re-calculate the supply chain logistic (include all stages: collection, segregation, aggregation, recycling, WTE, landfill)

To know more about the various civic groups, visit their websites:

Here is a voter’s guide to help you vote

Also read

Comments:

  1. Umesh says:

    So, Mp’s should all these things not state govt, right..

    By the way, what is RWA percentage of voting in elections.

    Vote first and be a responsible person in society.

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