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BBMP Bill should spell out powers of ward committees

BBMP Bill should spell out powers of ward committees
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BBMP Bill should spell out powers of ward committees

Highlights

There is a strong public opinion in favour of bringing all civic agencies and parastatals under the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahangara Palike (BBMP). The new BBMP Bill 2020 needs to clearly spell out the powers that ward committees and its members will have.

Bengaluru: There is a strong public opinion in favour of bringing all civic agencies and parastatals under the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahangara Palike (BBMP). The new BBMP Bill 2020 needs to clearly spell out the powers that ward committees and its members will have. These were the major issues discussed at the online public debate on new BBMP Bill 2020, organized by Janaagraha Centre for Citizenship and Democracy on Thursday.

The 4th City Politics event 'Debate on new BBMP Bill 2020' was moderated by Srinivas Alavilli and Sapna Karim, heads of the civic participation team at Janaagraha.

Padmanabha Reddy, BJP leader who has served as a four-time corporator, welcomed the bill that was introduced by the BJP government in the State. However, he agreed that there were certain shortcomings. "There is a need to ensure that the article 243W (Powers, authority and responsibilities of municipalities, etc subject to the provisions of this Constitution, the Legislature of a State may, by law, endow) is implemented." he said.

While welcoming the focus given to ward committees, he stressed the need for a similar focus on the corporators and the council. "I stress that the council is supreme. However, the Bill gives more power to the zonal committee commissioners. The power needs to be given to elected representatives and we are going to highlight the same in the upcoming meetings," he said.

Padmanabha Reddy also stressed that blood relatives of the corporator should not be appointed as ward committee members and the same needs to be included in the Bill.

Abdul Wajid, Congress leader and a two-time corporator said, "The Bill is good for Bengaluru. However, this is not the right time to introduce it. Hence, I am opposing the Bill."

Wajid opined that the bill was being introduced at this point only to postpone the elections. "There are many aspects in the BBMP Bill that seem to be a copy of the KMC Act. This Bill needs to have a broader outlook, and one should keep the growth of Bengaluru in mind. This Bill should not just focus on the present issues but also think 20 years ahead. All civic agencies and parastatals should report to BBMP, similar to Mumbai. This can ensure

effective and smooth implementation of development work," he said.

Srikanth Narasimhan, General Secretary, Bengaluru Nava Nirmana Party stressed the need for transparency in the ward committees. "Only transparency can kill nepotism. Having family and friends of the corporator in ward committees is not practical. Hence the profile of the ward committee members should be on the public domain. Not just that, there should be a clear explanation by the corporator on why the particular member was selected," he said.

Leaders across political parties unanimously seek full empowerment of Ward Committees and the council and agree that parastatal agencies including BESCOM and BWSSB must come under the BBMP.

Srinivas Alavilli, Head, Civic Participation, Janaagraha said, "There is a negative opinion about political parties and politicians. This is unfortunate as it comes in the way of good dialogue and discussion to make our city better. Today's event showed and proved that it does not need to be the case. All political parties can come to the same forum and agree to do the right thing for the city, and we should encourage this. Janaagraha is very grateful to all political parties for accepting our invitation and joining us. We hope this is the beginning of many conversations of amending the BBMP bill to be the best that it can be."

Sapna Karim, head, Civic Participation, Janaagraha said, "Just like we as citizens demand for consultative platforms and processes on agendas that impact our quality of life, our councillors who are our city leaders are keen to be consulted on matters that will impact their political journeys and the development of Bengaluru, the city they will represent. Today's debate proved that informed, constructive conversations can take place even as ideologies may differ. This can set a new normal for city politics to emerge!"

R Prakash, JD(S) Bengaluru city president, Shanthala Damle, State Co-Convener, Aam Aadmi Party and Deepak Nagaraj, general secretary, Karnataka Rashtra Samithi also represented their parties in the meeting.

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