Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Merger could mean 140 wards, cash-rich BMP

Merger could mean 140 wards, cash-rich BMP
deccan Herald

The government proposes to finalise by November 1, whether to merge the BMP with the seven CMCs and one TMC or bifurcate BMP, Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy said here on Monday.

If the decision is taken by November, the BMP and CMC elections, scheduled in December and January respectively, will be postponed till February, at least.

Following a cabinet sub-committee meeting on the Greater Bangalore project, Mr Kumaraswamy said the three proposals related to the issue - merging of all municipal bodies, division of Bangalore into two zones and creating two municipal bodies in addition to the BMP - will be discussed by an expert committee headed by Mr Sudhakar Rao, Principal Secretary to Chief Minister. The expert committee has been instructed to submit its recommendation within two-three days. The recommendations will be discussed in the next cabinet sub-committee meeting to be held within 15 days, Mr Kumaraswamy added.

Mr Kumaraswamy said they were aiming at announcing their decision before the corporation elections are held. He said they are updating the Election Commission about their plans and the delimitation processes that will follow, to make the merger possible.

Health Minister R Ashok, who is a member of the cabinet sub-committee, said if everything goes according to schedule, delimitation will be completed in one month’s time and Greater Bangalore would be ready for elections by February 2007.

Mr Ashok added that the Karnataka Municipal Act will be abandoned and a new municipal law enacted for Bangalore, that will be “one of its kind in India”.

Sources reveal that the consensus among politicians and officials is for creation of a unified municipal body. If Bangalore is consolidated under a single local body, it will encompass an area of 696 sq km and include about 140 wards.

“Opinion is tilted towards creating a single body because Bangalore has become a brand and people do not want it to be divided. We will have to consider the mindset of the people before arriving at a decision,” explained Ashok.

The Minister said that the merger will be beneficial for BMP’s treasury, due to the high revenue potential of areas located on the City’s outskirts, where most of the IT zones are located. “I will be calling a meeting of all City MPs and MLAs soon to discuss the proposals with them,” Ashok added.


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