Saturday, April 29, 2006

BMP urged to create awareness about urban renewal mission

BMP urged to create awareness about urban renewal mission

The Hindu

Consultations on the city development strategic plan can be held later, say citizens

BANGALORE: Participants in a workshop on "Understanding the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission and the role of civil society and citizens in it" here on Friday urged the Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BMP) to first create awareness about the mission and then hold consultations on preparing the city development strategic plan.

Most of the citizens who spoke at the workshop organised by Community Leaders Network, pointed out that the BMP needed to create awareness about the mission. "The BMP has announced it will hold ward-wise consultations with citizens on May 6 for the preparation of the strategic plan. But we feel this will not be useful because most of us are not familiar with the urban renewal mission," one of the participants from BTM Layout said.

BMP cautioned

Ramesh Ramanathan, national technical adviser and chief of the Technical Advisory Group for the mission, who made a detailed presentation, cautioned the BMP against hurrying the ward-wise consultation with citizens.

Agreeing with the views expressed by those who spoke earlier, Mr. Ramanathan said, "The BMP should first create awareness about the mission and then consult people on the projects to be included. Otherwise citizens will not have an idea of what kind of projects need to be included in the mission. And the BMP will finally go ahead with its own ideas. Community participation is a must in this mission." Mr. Ramanathan said the BMP should first provide citizens with details about the projects it wanted to take up and then give citizens two weeks' time to study them. "Citizens can prioritise the projects and offer their recommendations. There is no need to hurry. The mission is for a period of seven years, and it is important to carry it out in the right way."

Pointing out that city corporations of Pune and Vijayawada had done an outstanding job in preparing the strategic plan, he said, "Though Bangalore had prepared a strategic plan, it was not able to get it approved because it could not reach the evaluation committee."

"As a Bangalorean, I feel Bangalore had a golden opportunity. It is not too late now. Though the Karnataka Municipal Corporations (KMC) Act makes it mandatory for the BMP to set up ward committees, hardly 30 are functioning. If what is there is not functioning then it is a broken system. If you are going to work with a broken system, then it is going to have its repercussions," he said.

While the states of Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan and West Bengal were some of the States that had submitted more than one strategic plan, 152 city municipalities had submitted detailed project reports for approval so far.

Till today 10 memorandums of agreement had been signed between the Centre and cities in four States, Mr. Ramanathan added.


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