Thursday, October 26, 2006

BMP leaving no stone unturned

BMP leaving no stone unturned
deccan Herald

The State government could still be working out legal formalities for the ambitious merger for a ‘Greater Bangalore’.

The State government could still be working out legal formalities for the ambitious merger for a ‘Greater Bangalore’. While, the ongoing debate on the delay in delimitation and Council elections might continue, Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BMP) is, however, taking no chances. A team of experts headed by Special Commissioner Gaurav Gupta, is fine-tuning the blueprint for effective governance of the redefined boundary.

The team has been exploring various possibilities to set-up new administrative patterns, zones, uniform taxation in both CMCs and the core city area, asset management, financial implications, additional staffing, solid waste management, revenue generation and infrastructure, among other issues.

‘Greater Bangalore’ will have an expanse of 696.17 sq km, about three times the size of the present Bangalore City limits (226 sq km), after adding the seven CMCs (257.9 sq km) - Byataranapura, Krishnarajapuram, Mahadevapura, Bommanahalli, Yelahanka, Dasarahalli and Rajarajeshwarinagar—one TMC, Kengeri. Another 178-sq km will be added by inducting 103 villages in the Bangalore Urban district, which have more than 30 per cent development. A high-level discussion on the various modalities is proposed to be held shortly. The meeting will be chaired by the chief minister.

While, the government is busy sorting out the legalities before issuing the notification, the BMP is quantifying the changes required at every sphere to bring transparency in administration and increase efficiency.

A broader revenue base does not ensure augmentation in revenue. It is feared that the merger will effect major financial implications too. An estimate of Rs 2,000 crore will be needed to eliminate huge disparities in infrastructure among the wards in the ‘core city area’ and the ‘incoming’ bodies.

Property tax

First, the difference in taxation needs to be sorted out, remind experts. The property tax is collected under the SAS (self-assessment scheme) in the City wards and the properties in the CMC areas are taxed as per the capital value system of taxation. While, a large chunk of the properties in both city and CMC areas have not been mapped.

However, BMP officials claim that the gaps will be bridged within a year. “In 1995, the number of BMP wards was increased to 100 and it took five years to bring the underdeveloped wards at par with the developed ones. But this time, we have already included the proposed areas in the CDP under the JNNURM,” explained a BMP official.

Solid waste management is a matter of concern even in the present core city area which generates about 2,500 tonnes of solid waste daily. The merger will add another 15 lakh population to the City limits. “There is an urgent need to earmark land-fill sites for solid waste. We need at least 1,000 acres for proper disposal of waste,” said BMP Commissioner K Jairaj.

Another challenge is also to establish adequate staffing for effective administration. Some CMCs and villages have severe shortage of staff. For instance, some CMCs have just one assistant executive engineer, rue officials.


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