Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Handle with great care

Handle with great care
The Times of INdia

The idea had sparked a decade ago. Then it found abode in the cold storage until Monday, when chief minister HD Kumaraswamy, after a meeting of the cabinet sub-committee for Greater Bangalore, announced the three options. TOI TEAM catches up with the who’s who of Bangalore City to find whether the second spark will really ignite Greater Bangalore

All around Bangalore, there has been no proper control over development, everyone is doing his own thing. There is no enforcement of the master plan for the region, the CMCs are also not very serious about plan proposals.

If the entire area comes under one strong planning authority, development will be more
effectively regulated. In my opinion, instead of one plus one or one plus two, one unified authority is better from the point of view of extending infrastructure and effective control.

Why should it be unwieldy? The area of the Mumbai, Kolkata corporations, even Hyderabad-Secunderabad is bigger and are they not managing well? What is required is strengthening of the organisation appropriately.

Bangalore is seeing continuous growth, if it has to grow in a particular direction, it is better if it is contiguous. There will be no coordination problems and better planning of facilities.

— SC Kari Gowda (member and former chairman, Institute of Town Planing (India), Karnataka chapter).

The Greater Bangalore is a much needed and long overdue one. “It will herald a new beginning for the development of Bangalore. A bigger entity will have the luxury of a bigger budget, could bring in more work efficiencies, and help install and implement better systems that build infrastructure.
— MA Vakil, chairman of Vakil Housing

Do you want Bangalore to become bigger than Mumbai? The Greater Bangalore idea proposes just that — to increase the urban sprawl.

With the present CDP allowing more FAR (floor area ratio) in the outer areas than in the inner areas, the periphery will naturally get congested. In such a situation, the Greater Bangalore concept proposes to expand the area from present 225 sq km to 700 sq km which is a definite no-no.

With outer areas getting greater FAR, the urban sprawl is on the rise which is bringing in heavy traffic into the inner city areas. This is because of bad planning.

Given the circumstances, the concept is unacceptable as the population density will be high; agricultural lands will be killed and will result in terrible urban sprawl.
Instead the government should look at selfsustaining satellite cities which are at a distance of about 60 km from Bangalore.
The optimum expansion of Bangalore should be about 350 sq km and rest of the development should be concentrated in satellite cities. Already it takes us two hours to commute in Bangalore, what will happen after we make the city three times larger?
Not only in terms of commuting, but also in terms of administration. All this will go haywire
— George K Kuruvila, urban planner

It is difficult to jump to a conclusion on this issue as all three plans have both plus and minus points. The idea is to merge the municipal councils and bring the management and administration of the whole thing under one body. If there is a unified authority, there is no confusion over jurisdiction. There is continuity in developmental works and responsibility is pinned.

The only thing to be seen is whether it will be too unwieldy. This can be tackled by strengthening the body with both resources and manpower and whether such resources are available.

The advantages of two or three bodies is more compact jurisdiction, it can provide competition among the three and inspections will be easier. But today, it is all economies of agglomeration — investments and development will be easier on a larger scale. For this, urban management and reforms are needed — what are the powers that the mayor enjoys, will he be an executive body and accountable to the people?

I think, ideally, there should be a single new authority that should coincide with the area covered by the BDA. For the Bangalore rural district, a regional plan should be in place.
— A Ravindra (deputy chairman, State
Planning Board)


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