Saturday, July 30, 2005

London, Delhi spirit behind Greater Bangalore

London, Delhi spirit behind Greater Bangalore
Proposal On Drawing Board For Two Decades; BMRDA Was To Be Overseeing Body
The Times of India

Bangalore: The Greater Bangalore Authority (GBA), proposed to be set up by the state, has actually been in the making for nearly two decades.

This long-pending proposal is still being hotly debated, but there is no consensus even on the ‘name’ of the authority, sources said.
The concept was first proposed by former chief secretary A. Ravindra in the 1980s when he was the urban development secretary. It was meant to be an ‘apex’ agency for Bangalore metropolitan region and the eight surrounding municipalities.

“I did not mean to merge the CMCs and TMC with the BCC then,’’ Ravindra told The Times of India. He had wanted an “apex” body, with independent and strong civic agencies under it. Government sources said what is now proposed is to merge CMCs/TMC with the BCC to form GBA. But no one is clear what the merged entity will do, or what its framework will be.

What will GBA look like? Models being talked about include the National Capital Region of New Delhi — which covers neighbouring cities in the surrounding states under one head, mainly for planning purposes, and the Mumbai example, where the municipal corporation takes care of everything from sewerage and water supply to power, roads, traffic and gardens and zoos.

Another example being mooted is that of the Greater London Authority — which is overall in charge of the Corporation of London and the 32 Boroughs surrounding the capital city. Ravindra said he had proposed setting up of the Bangalore Metropolitan Region Development Authority (BMRDA) to be the “apex” body. “I wanted it to take care of urban planning, resource mobilisation for major infrastructure projects, coordination and to direct growth. BMRDA did not fulfil that objective though,’’ he said.

Now, the BMRDA, Bangalore Development Authority (BDA), BCC and CMCs/TMC are the stakeholders in GBA. These stakeholders will meet to discuss setting up of GBA, once the legislature session is over, sources said. “But there are differing views.’’

Ravindra is not the only one rooting for a unified body. D.K. Shivakumar, as urban development minister in the former Krishna government, too spoke about it. Ravindra said as per the 74th amendment of the Constitution, every large city with a population of over one million must mandatorily set up a metropolitan planning committee. “That has not happened in most cities.’’

Problems galore
If the CMCs/TMC get merged with the BCC, what happens to their existing framework? Moreover, will the BCC and corporators welcome the widening of jurisdiction. These are the issues to be worked out. Also, everyone agrees that the CMCs/ TMC are poorer cousins of Bangalore. But no one agrees on what to do about them.


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