Ward committee meetings will now be held in Bengaluru on the first Saturday of every month, starting from December 1 at 11:30am at every ward office.

Unhappy with Bengalurus civic mess Go to your ward committee meetings from Dec 1
news Civic Issues Wednesday, November 28, 2018 - 17:24

Garbage dumping, pothole ridden roads, flooding during the monsoon and other issues plague the city of Bengaluru. And while most residents crib about the city’s civic problems, very few actually do something about it.  Come December, Bengalureans can hold their corporator and civic official accountable. This after the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) has finally decided to regularise legally mandated ward committee meetings owing to sustained pressure from multiple civic groups and subsequent litigations at the Karnataka High Court.   

Ward committee meetings will now be held on the first Saturday of every month, starting from December 1 at 11:30am chaired by the ward corporator. A corporator is the chairman of the ward committee and meetings will be held at the respective ward offices. With this, any member of the public can witness the meetings and access documents related to works taken up in their respective wards. The ward engineer or the health inspector is secretary to the committee, as chosen by the corporator.

The timing and agenda of subsequent ward committee meetings have to be well publicised and notice have to be placed in all public offices in the ward—ward office, water and electricity supply office, public health centres. The same was reiterated by Mayor Gangambike Mallikarjun and BBMP Commissioner N Manjunath Prasad at a roundtable organised on the issue by civic group Citizens for Bengaluru in a packed hall on Tuesday.  

“What does an average person want? That the moment he walks out of his home, the roads should be nice and clean. The public can know what is the tender conditions of their ward roads and who is responsible for waste management. Or who is maintaining the streetlights? They can ask for cancellation of tender citing poor performance,” the Commissioner said when asked how the common man will benefit from this.

According to the Karnataka Municipal Corporation Act, a 10-member committee comprising of voters in the ward will have two members from the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes, two from residents’ welfare association, three women and three members nominated by the corporators.  However, due to ambiguity in the notification regarding selection of ward committee members, Prasad admitted there is dissatisfaction among the public about members nominated to the ward committees.

Read: Nepotism in Bengaluru ward committees? Citizens demand Lokayukta action against officials

When asked by a resident about what purpose this will serve if all the ward committee members are ‘yes men’ of the corporator, he said, “Information itself is power. You will know where the money is going. The entire ward committee and secretary will have all the relevant details about all civic issues in the ward be it roadworks, garbage management. We will make sure that the minutes of meetings and action taken report of every ward committee meeting will be uploaded in the BBMP website. We want citizen participation in each and every aspect of civic governance. Once you know what is being done, nothing prevents you from exerting pressure on the corporator or taking it to the media.”

Acknowledging a request from a resident, he said, he will write to the chief of BMTC, BWSSB, Bescom and other relevant department to request that representatives of all relevant departments attend ward committee meetings.

He further added, the public can hold discussions and even suggest budgetary needs of the ward and ask the ward committee to carry it forward to the corporator for the next year. The ward development plan can be formed by citizens and forward to the corporator through ward committee meetings.

Srinivas Alavilli, co-founder of CfB, said, “This is not a perfect world. But until three days ago, we did not know if there would be any ward committee meetings in actuality. The committees were on paper but not in the ward offices. This is a great progress, if we had 198 corporators till now, now we have 1980 ward committee members who are our representatives. If you can’t catch your corporator, catch your ward committee members. If ward committee meetings are not happening according to the rules, complain to the Commissioner.”

You can access details about your ward committee on the BBMP website here  or Citizens for Bengaluru website here.

 

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