Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Greater Bangalore, weaker revenue

Greater Bangalore, weaker revenue
New Indian Express

BANGALORE: The government decision to merge the seven CMCs and a TMC around the City with Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BMP) to create one Greater BMP would not facilitate focused growth due to huge discrepancy in development. Further, City MLAs prefer forming three city corporations.

Rajajinagar MLA N L Narendra Babu said that Greater BMP would entail a higher number of wards while the statutory provision puts the ceiling at 100 wards in any city corporation.

“As of now, BMP has 100 wards and doubling its jurisdiction would require higher number of wards. The government seems to be doing this only to get more funds from the Centre. But large grants to a single civic body is not wise,” he said.

Babu also said that the government had not discussed the options with city MLAs and was going by the advice of the officials.

The current BMP area of 220 sq km would shoot upto 736 sq km after the merger and the revenue would go up by a mere 10 percent. This only could make matters worse as the government grants to BMP have not been adequate. Out of the Rs 1,500 crore budget allocations, the civic body receives a little over Rs 100 crore as grants.

The rest of the funding is from the own revenue of the BMP and from external borrowing. The merger would only make the BMP a bigger borrower with low creditworthiness.

Instead, two separate corporations - Bangalore North and Bangalore South - could be formed to include the seven CMCs and the Town Panchayat so that the financial management becomes easier. This would also facilitate the administration to focus on specific problems in each of the three corporations.

On the other hand, another City MLA feels that Bangalore will collapse under its own weight if the merger comes through. He feels that the CMCs should be strengthened and be elevated to the status of City Corporations so that they can develop on their own.

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