Saturday, April 23, 2005

Nobody’s baby: Bangalore’s 7 municipal councils languish

Nobody’s baby: Bangalore’s 7 municipal councils languish
Disowned By Minister & BDA, Not Wanted By BCC
The Times of India

Bangalore: The seven City Municipal Councils (CMCs) and one Town Municipal Council (TMC) have nowhere to go and no one to look up to. To start with, the classification of portfolios in the government is so strange that while Urban Local Bodies (ULB) — CMCs, TMCs and town panchayats — come under the Directorate of Municipal Administration (DMA), ULBs in Bangalore are an exception.

ULBs in the state come under the municipal administration minister, but the ULBs in Bangalore are retained by chief minister Dharam Singh, who holds the urban development portfolio. And the result: the seven CMCs neither get any funds from the chief minister nor are they financially supported by the DMA.

“CMCs around Bangalore don’t come under my jurisdiction. So, we don’t release any funds to CMCs directly nor plan any exclusive projects for them. But otherwise, my department has a lot of ongoing projects for other ULBs in the state,’’ municipal administration minister S.R. Morey told The Times of India.

The CMCs around Bangalore do not stand to gain like their counterparts which are getting a lot of projects sanctioned through Asian Development Bank aid. The ULBs in Tumkur, Mandya, Mysore, Ramanagara, Channapatna and Maddur have got a Rs 600-crore project for infrastructure development, while those in coastal areas have projects worth Rs 931 crore.

“If the Bangalore CMCs have any projects, we can release funds through Karnataka Urban Infrastructure Development Finance Corporation (KUIDFC),’’ Morey said.

While CMCs around Bangalore do not seem to be on government’s priority list, the only solution the CM talks about is setting up of an umbrella agency — Bangalore Metropolitan Authority — which will bring together the CMCs around Bangalore and coordinate with civic agencies. But the proposal has not progressed an inch forward. Even the meagre grants that were being released by the government have been stopped after a Lok Ayukta raid three years ago.
On the other hand, the government has been on and off talking about bringing CMCs into the BCC fold. But BCC’s response is cold. “Managing the affairs of the city itself is a herculean task. Merging CMCs with the corporation will lead us nowhere,’’ BCC officials said.

Coming down to the grassroots, who will develop the ‘seven wonders’ around Bangalore? The BDA, the Bangalore Metropolitan Region Development Authority, BCC or the ever elusive Bangalore Metropolitan Authority?


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