Friday, November 24, 2006

Will he set things right?

Will he set things right?
New Civic Administrator Takes Over Amid A Lot Of Controversies
The Times of India

Bangalore: For the next six to seven months whom will you call if there is rain-related trouble or there is an illegal construction mushrooming right next to your house or if there is no garbage clearance in your ward/road?
Will some 60 lakh people call up a few control rooms to air all grievances?
Administrator Dilip Rau says he would interact with MLAs to understand people’s concerns. Urban planners have often pointed out that the gap between the public and elected representatives is far too much — 40,000 persons per elected representative. In Greater Bangalore this gap will widen, they say.
On Thursday, even as the noveau administrator stepped into the meeting hall of BMP and was about to make the formal introductions, in stepped MLA Vatal Nagraj.
Without as much pausing to explain why he was there, he screamed slogans against the administrator, against BMP, against the government, against everybody. The gist of it was that Greater Bangalore was happening in a most “undemocratic manner”.
And that is precisely the reason why corporators are a peeved lot. That their aspirations and careers are being jeopardised, they never had a say in the formation of Greater Bangalore, that they were not even consulted for the process.
At the end of the day, as some resident welfare associations put it — whether a corporator or an official, we want results.
Police to monitor encroachments
To check illegal encroachments in the CMC areas, BMP commissioner K Jairaj has mooted a proposal with the government — appoint a police officer for every zone. Greater Bangalore would have eight zones, and a police official to exclusively check encroachments would lessen the menace, said Jairaj on Thursday.
A procedure is also underway to increase the tax base in the CMC areas. All the CMCs together yield a revenue of Rs 51 crore so a plan is on to bring more properties under the tax net and increase the revenue to Rs 200 crore, explained Jairaj.
BMP’s last act
Last few hours, so why not make the most of it? The BMP corporators on Thursday went on a function spree, inaugurating a host of programmes hastily.
Eight functions across as many wards. And all these programmes have been listed in subsequent budgets but found the light of day only on Thursday. Outgoing mayor Mumtaz Begum’s ward had two “functions” — inauguration of the proposal of short-stay homes and the foundation stone laying for a flyover on Queen’s Road. In ward 15, a road was renamed after former CM S Nijalingappa. Ward 92 saw a function where a renovated elephant park (statues of elephants) was inaugurated.
At JP Nagar, various development projects including a building for tailoring machines for the under-developed classes was inaugurated. Two other wards saw inauguration of what was loosely described as “development projects”.
The notable one — inauguration of foundation-stone laying ceremony of traveller’s homes at Anandagiri Mountain, Cholanayakanahalli, Hebbal, where the foundation stone was laid by deputy CM Yediyurappa.
Plea dismissed
The division Bench headed by Chief Justice Cyriac Joseph on Thursday dismissed a petition questioning the government order (GO) issued on November 2 for the formation of Greater Bangalore.
The GO is only a draft notification containing the proposals and nothing prevented the petitioner and councillors to submit their objections within the stipulated period. So the petition is nothing but premature, the Bench observed.
The government had proposed to include seven CMC’s and Kengeri TMC into BMP to constitute Greater Bangalore. Former city Mayor P R Ramesh, who had filed the petition, alleged that the government in the guise of Greater Bangalore is planning to appoint an administrator to BMP and postpone the elections already due.
Final hearing on December 5
Meanwhile, the Bench fixed December 5 as the final date of hearing for the separate PIL filed by Ramesh seeking time-bound polls to BMP. The Bench rejected the interim prayer sought by him for continuance of the present set-up till the setting up of a new body.
I have always been open to meetings with RWAs and civil society groups, public aspirations have always been important and represented. I will meet MLAs to know what the problems and grievances of people are.
When there is a full-time commissioner, the role of the administrator is to guide. An administrator is not an executive.
There is already a procedure existing at the BMP, I will try and speed it up. Whatever resolutions need to be taken will be done within the confines of law
There is a difference between a mayor and administrator, a mayor has standing committees, an administrator subsumes all committees. The administrator’s job is not to monitor or even implement municipal elections. The administrator is the Council.
Commissioner has to have visiting hours for the public and is answerable for each day given that he still holds charge of the portfolio of additional chief secretary, energy department. What the expert committee says
They have been vested with the task of carving out the great challenge envisaged 10 years ago and implemented now by the state. An expert committee constituted by the state and headed by scientist Rajya Sabha MP K Kasturirangan is supposed to make recommendations regarding the structure of the new legal framework and report on Greater Bangalore.
The committee has not met so far but is slated for a meeting on November 25. Here’s what some of the members say:
S Sadagopan, director, IIIT-B
“I want to focus on Information Communication Technology (ICT). People’s and traffic movement, in cities has become a dynamic force to reckon with. I will be interested in seeing the usage of ICT on this sector in Greater Bangalore. We will also look at improving the drainage system and smarter ways of garbage collection.”
Samuel Paul, director, Public Affairs Committee
“We have not yet had a meeting. We will submit a report according to the terms of reference.”


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