Boomtown rap

Siddaramaiah can fix Bangalore civic mess by giving up charge

But there is no indication from the CM on appointing a separate minister for city development.

 |  Boomtown rap  |  3-minute read |   01-09-2016
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Ever since demolitions were carried out in Bangalore by multiple agencies to clear encroachments from storm water drains, the foremost thought in every Bangalorean’s mind was — where is the minister responsible for Bangalore city development?

For, he not only remained inaccessible to the victims of the demolition drive, but also remained oblivious to the developments in the city because he had greater responsibilities. The demolition drive amid confusion among civic agencies was just another instance to remind Karnataka’s Chief Minister Siddaramaiah that he needed to let go of the Bangalore city development ministry, which is currently under him.

When the erstwhile Bangalore development minister KJ George was asked to tender his resignation mid-July in the wake of an FIR being filed against him in connection with the suicide of a police officer, Siddaramaiah decided to retain the Bangalore city development ministry.

Everyone hoped that it would be a stop-gap arrangement till he found an able Congress legislator to shoulder the responsibility of monitoring the city’s unbridled growth. But there seems to be no indication from Siddaramaiah on appointing a separate minister for Bangalore city development, which is as important as any other ministry.

sid-embed_090116125646.gif Bangalore needs an immediate fix on multiple fronts and CM Siddaramaiah definitely does not have the time to look into them.  

Bangalore needs an immediate fix on multiple fronts and Siddaramaiah definitely does not have the time to look into them. For instance, the demolition of structures that have come up on land earmarked for storm water drains is being carried out by the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP). But it was the Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) that created the comprehensive development plan (CDP) for the city on the basis of which residential layout plans were cleared.

It means that the BBMP simply ignored the CDP (which has clearly indicated the alignment of the storm water drains) while approving construction of the houses. It also means that the BBMP and the BDA have been working without ushering in any synchronization.

The BBMP and the BDA have often been at loggerheads since the last two decades. While the BDA points fingers at the elected representatives in the BBMP for the unregulated growth of Bangalore by ignoring the CDP, the councillors are of the view that they enjoy supremacy as people’s representatives. In fact, the BDA has been more active than the BBMP in recovering encroached land in the last two decades.

Also read: Why Bangalore is facing a Chennai flood-like situation

The BDA over a period of five years recovered government land worth over Rs 2,000 crore from encroachers between 1999 and 2004. On the contrary, this is for the first time ever that the BBMP is carrying out a major drive against encroachments in the city.

If the government has to usher in better coordination and cooperation between these two important stakeholder agencies, a minister level interference is required. With Siddaramaiah preoccupied with more important responsibilities, the issue is not getting its due attention. The commissioners of both the BBMP and the BDA meet to trash out their differences, but the issues continue to persist while citizens suffer at the hands of bureaucrats. 

Likewise, the Bangalore Water Supply & Sewerage Board (BWSSB) digs up freshly laid roads to replace leaking water pipes or sanitary pipes causing huge losses to the BBMP. There have been instances of BWSSB opening up arterial roads overnight leading to traffic jams during daytime. These are issues that cannot be sorted by the CM alone.

(Courtesy of Mail Today.)


Aravind Gowda Aravind Gowda @aravindshiv

The writer is a publicist, film scribe and political journalist.

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