The court on Monday directed the state govt to transfer all documents in connection with the Bengaluru Blueprint Action Group to the Bengaluru Metropolitan Planning Committee.

Thanks to Ktaka HC Bengaluru may not get another unwanted expert committee
news Civic Issues Tuesday, June 12, 2018 - 19:26

In a joy for civic activists, the Karnataka High Court has effectively put off the formation of yet another “expert committee” for the betterment of Bengaluru. This comes just days after CM Kumaraswamy met Infosys co-founder Narayana Murthy for forming such a committee under the new government.

The Karnataka High Court on Monday directed the state government to transfer all documents in connection with the Bengaluru Blueprint Action Group (BBAG) to the Bengaluru Metropolitan Planning Committee (BMPC). This, after the state government told the court that in a June 8 notification, the current HD Kumaraswamy-led dispensation had terminated the BBAG.

A day before the notification, the state government was criticised by the High Court for setting up such an “expert” group.

"Let the statutory bodies work. Creating parallel body is undesirable, unwarranted and absolutely uncalled for, as such bodies will only add to confusion," the division bench comprising Chief Justice Dinesh Maheshwari and Justice Krishna S Dixit had observed on June 7, while hearing a plea filed by Namma Bengaluru Foundation and Citizens Action Forum.

The BBPAG, an “expert committee” formed by then-CM Siddaramaiah for the betterment of Bengaluru in 2016 with quasi-executive powers, had industry heads like Kiran Mazumdar Shaw and Azim Premji as its members, along with elected representatives.

K’taka HC calls expert panels formed by state for B’luru’s development ‘undesirable’

Expert committees, like Agenda for Bangalore's Infrastructure and Development formed by then CM Yeddyurappa, usually headed by non-subject matter experts, are not something new.

A new committee has been constituted with every new government the state has seen since SM Krishna's tenure, with none of the committees having much success to show for.

Citizen groups have vociferously stood against these “expert, elitist and non-inclusive” committees, on account of them being a committee parallel to the constitutionally mandated Metropolitan Planning Committee (MPC).

They are of the opinion that through these expert committees, the government of the day can bypass the mandated norms, like the formation of ward committees and consulting the public for every big cost-intensive project as per the Country and Town Planning Act.

Moreover, there were allegations of the committee members who are usually not from urban planning and relevant fields, backing unscientific projects without any public consultation.

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