Hard-won step forward, but many more miles to go!

18 corporators of BBMP became members of the first Metropolitan Planning Committee of the Bangalore region. This is an important and hard-won step forward in getting a proper planning body for the city. There are many drawbacks in the way the MPC has been constituted, but at least we have an institution that is supposed to do the planning now. Making it work effectively is another ballgame altogether, and we must work with the State government to properly devolve powers to this body and give it some real teeth to fix the city.

Around the country, only a few MPCs have been formed, and these too are not usually allowed to run well by the state governments. In Maharashtra, the CM made himself a member of the Mumbai MPC and the Pune MPC and the Nagpur MPC. That effectively killed all three of them. Here too, according to the notification, the CM is likely to be a member of the Bangalore, Mysore, and Hubli-Dharward MPCs.

This is totally un-necessary. A Chief Minister has so much work to do in leading the state that he should cede the city space to a different set of people, and let these institutions work well. But somehow our politics has not matured enough to see that different levels of government are not supposed to be in a hierarchical relationship, but that they should perform different functions. One day that wisdom will dawn, but sadly for our country, these things always happen later than sooner.

Congratulations to CK Ramamurthy and others who were made members today. Best wishes to help make Namma Bengaluru – not just the city, but the region – a great metropolis.

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