Monday, July 25, 2005

Does CM remember his word to revive BATF?

Does CM remember his word to revive BATF?
New Indian Express

BANGALORE: It is more than six months since Chief Minister Dharam Singh promised to revive the Bangalore Agenda Task Force (BATF). However, he seems to have gotten stuck.

Stiff resistance from the JD (S) and a section of the Congress MLAs is said to be the roadblock to the Chief Minister’s initiative in this regard. After losing power in 2004 general elections, the Congress has retained the ‘gaddi’ only with the support of the JD (S) and in the process, has realized that farmers, not CEOs, matter to win polls.

This shift from pro-urban to pro-rural and poor is also said to be one of the reasons why the CM is not keen on reviving the BATF, a body of private individuals aimed to improve city infrastructure by closely working with government agencies.

The first assurance from Singh promising to revive the BATF came soon after assuming office in May last year, after coming under fire from the IT big-wigs for neglecting city’s infrastructure.

He in fact convened a meeting of IT czars and assured BATF’s revival. Later, when N Narayana Murthy, Chief Mentor of Infosys and the Infosys Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer Nandan M Nilekani invited Dharam Singh for the inauguration of their Mysore unit, the CM promised to convene a meeting of former BATF members and revive it within weeks, however the net result still is a null.

BATF, which was set up through a Government Order in 2000 during the S M Krishna regime, was aimed at ensuring private-public partnership to make Bangalore a world-class city.

Headed by Nilekani, the BATF worked as a co-ordinator among key civic stakeholders like the BCC, BDA, BWSSB, BMTC, Bescom and the BSNL.

Though the city has maintained its numero-uno position in terms of investments and exports in IT and ITES sectors, the dwindling infrastructure has led to discontent among the IT czars who are planning to boycott, the mega event of the State show-casing its growth in the IT sector.


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