Friday, March 12, 2010

‘Hold each corporator accountable to all issues’

‘Hold each corporator accountable to all issues’
Ramesh Ramanathan Feels BBMP Should Be More Accessible To People
Prashanth G N | TNN

Bangalore: Suggestions from credible citizens who can be analysts, activists and strategists can help in formulating clear and sensitive policies. Janaagraha co-founder and civic strategist Ramesh Ramanathan shares with TOI some ideas on what the new corporators can do for Bangalore’s progress. Excerpts:
What should be the fundamental focus of the soon-to-be elected corporators?
Improving quality of life of every citizen of Bangalore.
Quality of life in what ways?
Everything that matters in everyday life — regular supply of clean drinking water, electricity, clean and efficient way of collecting and disposing of garbage, easy access to public transport, good roads, greener colonies, easing traffic congestion, etc. In a larger sense, BBMP becoming more accessible to people, transparent and corrupt-free.
How can we get corporators to deliver on these?
Citizens have to develop a mechanism to hold each corporator accountable to each of these issues. We have to seek specific answers to specific issues at regular intervals and assess and measure what the corporator has done in a period of, let’s say, three months. If an area requires better water supply, a corporator can be given time to improve matters based on which we assess him/her. Same with other issues. If we have regular meetings and have a report that shows assessment of the corporator and amount of work done, things can improve.
What can the new BBMP council do to begin with?
The new council should frame two separate action plans — one for Bangalore metropolitan region and one for city core. It should have a clear vision of issues to be addressed in both. Two plans are suggested because the metro region and city feed each other — for instance — while we collect garbage in the city, we dispose the same in the metro region. So we need a garbage collection plan for the city and disposal plan for the metro region — identifying landfills in the metro region, their extent, the surroundings, how much garbage can the landfills take, etc. Essentially, the city plan then should be devised based on the metro region plan and both plans should be devised on their respective needs. We then act according to the plan and needs.
But there is already the regional governance Bill for the metro region. We have a Bill yes, not a plan. The Bill will take time to pass. The newly elected council meanwhile can work out draft action plans for the metro region and the city — and act on them with the mandate of the council. The plans can be devised in a participative way. Councillors, experts, civic analysts and activists all help.
What after the plans?
I’d suggest a sequence. Frame metro region plan, have a city plan based on the metro region plan, then identify specific infrastructure requirements, then draw a priority list. After that, evolve a top 10 and finally a plan for execution. All of these have to be time-bound. After all, this comes in the assessment of the corporator and projects based on which citizens can seek greater responsiveness.
How will citizens know how the corporator is performing?
We can have corporator-citizen meetings every three months. Corporators can tell citizens what they have done and what’s left. The more they communicate to citizens, greater the confidence citizens would have in the system. I’d suggest the new council be frequently communicative on projects. Progress will automatically happen.

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