news BBMP Friday, April 10, 2015 - 05:30
If the BJP and JD (S) agree on anything after they demanded a CBI inquiry into IAS officer D K Ravi’s death, it is that the Karnataka government is making a mistake by trifurcating the unwieldy BBMP. Both parties have submitted memoranda to the Governor, urging the latter to refuse to give his assent for the state government’s move, which they called hasty. Both parties also cited the example of Delhi, which was also similarly broken up into smaller corporations, and which they claimed did not really translate into better governance.  The state government had submitted an ordinance for the trifurcation of the BBMP to Governor Vajubhai Vala on Thursday. BBMP is to be dissolved on April 21, and the move is likely to delay the civic body elections which are to be completed by May in compliance with the orders of the Karnataka High Court. On September 22, 2014, the state government had set up a three-member re-structuring committee comprising former chief secretary B S Patil as chairman, and former BBMP commissioner Siddaiah and former Banglaore Agenda Task Force member V Ravichander as members, to look into the restricting of the BBMP. The committee has been holding discussions and accepting representations from the public on their views and possible means to restructure the BBMP.  Calling the trifurcation an “unfortunate decision”, the Janata Dal (Secular) has said that it was opposed to the move as it would “in no way increase the efficiency of the administration. On the contrary, it will only go on to increase the administration expenses. It will also give a bigger scope for corruption and influence in administration. Moreover, it is most unscientific.” The city unit of the BJP, has said that it was “surprised” at the “haste” with which the state government “after hurriedly obtaining an interim report from the Three Member Committee”. In its memorandum, the BJP accused the Congress government of having ulterior motives: “The State Government without going into the matter in depth & only with an ulterior motive to postpone the BBMP elections scheduled in the month of May has decided to Trifurcate Bangalore through an Ordinance.” The BJP’s memorandum outlines in detail why the party is against the trifurcation, but some of them appear to be factually incorrect. For instance, the party says that experts on urban governance, and scientific studies on infrastructure etc have not been considered. But the BBMP website has published submissions by researchers from IISc, Azim Premji University, and also civic groups which have some expertise in urban policy and governance.  The BJP appears to think that technology would be a panacea for much of the inefficiency in governance and administration in the BBMP. It also urges that more zones be created within the BBMP instead of trifurcating it, and these would be managed by an increased strength of bureaucrats. However, other experts advocate for more power to be given to elected representatives as it was the bureaucratic set up which created a major hurdle in the execution of works. A member of CIVIC, Kathyayini Chamaraj said that the group would be submitting a detailed representation to the re-structuring committee. One way to reduce the delay in execution of works to give more planning and execution powers to councilors at the ward level and enable them to execute small projects on their own, “without having to get each file sent all the way up to the Commissioner (of the BBMP) and back down.” Objections raised by the BJP in its memorandum to the Governor: 1. During these days of high technology, administration of the city is no great deal due to availability of IT enabled governance which can manage even the biggest of urban conglomerate.  2. Inefficiency of the existing system cannot not be an excuse for taking a drastic step of trifurcation. If this logic is applied tomorrow disgruntled elements may demand division of state citing the inefficiency of the state administration. Hence we strongly believe this decision will not be in the good interest of the State or the City.  3. There has to be a detailed study and diligence with respect to trifurcation based on geography and financial aspects, a cursory study by three people with claimed expertise is not the answer. 4. Citizens and the scientific community who have various aspects of the city in mind like the Urban Ecology, Hydro-geology, Town Planning, Infra management, traffic management and various other scientific aspects have never been consulted or cursory consultation done and a hasty decision has being taken. 5. In other cities or division has happened elsewhere there has never been proof that t it has resulted in significant improvement in administration, infrastructure or quality of life. Delhi is the live example of how such breaking up of the city into divisions has rendered a total breakdown of civic administration. 6. Existing Division can be administered better by improving the reporting pattern of not only public works but also financial transparency and this is possible with technology and we do have the best talent available in the private and public sector domain. 7. We believe creating more Zones with IAS Officers heading them and giving them more financial autonomy and a decentralized administration can address the issue of governance effectively. 8. The Division of Bangalore city will seriously pose problems to several stake holders like BESCOM, BWSSB etc.  9. By dividing the city into 3 independent administrative bodies the beurocratic / administrative set up will get triplicated thereby increasing cost of governance and the lack of controlling body to bring in parity within these three civic bodies will bring in disparity in development and tax collection and expenditure patterns for which no expert study has been thoroughly made. While the suburbs/newer wards are yet to systematize tax collections, the older wards have tax collections in place but the development needs (expenditure) are inverse. Hence the costs will be lop-sided.
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