Monday, January 22, 2007

Greater Bangalore: policy changes sought

Greater Bangalore: policy changes sought

The Hindu

This is to ensure the smooth functioning of the BBMP

# Call to reserve 25 per cent of new layouts for the urban poor
# Form committee to deal with problems of farmers, says sangha

BANGALORE: Non-governmental organisations have urged the expert committee, which has been constituted to study the details of Greater Bangalore, to suggest major policy changes in its final report.

This was to ensure that the problems faced by the erstwhile Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BMP) such as lack of transparent functioning did not crop up again when the administrative and legal framework of the Bruhat Bengalooru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) was being chalked out.

`Land unaffordable'

Madhusudan of Karnataka Kolageri Nivasigala Samyuktha Sanghatane (KKNSS) said that Greater Bangalore would make land unaffordable to the urban poor and lead to more displacement in the name of development. He suggested that 25 per cent of the new layouts and the encroached lands identified by the A.T. Ramaswamy Committee could be reserved for the urban poor.

Advocating decentralisation in functioning, Kathyayini Chamraj, trustee of CIVIC Bangalore, said departments providing services such as power and water should be made accountable to the BBMP to ensure better coordination.

The spirit of the 74th Constitutional Amendment to plan for economic development and social justice had been a forgotten mandate, said Ms. Chamraj, while calling for the formation of the Metropolitan Planning Committee (MPC), which would ensure greater participation of elected representatives in decision-making.

With 110 villages being added to Bangalore city, farmers' concerns should be protected, said Ramaswamy Reddy of Bharat Kisan Sangha. Often, farmers were unable to meet officials directly and had to go through middlemen, he said and demanded that a committee be formed to deal with their problems.

Introducing the terms of the reference of the committee, Jawaid Akthar, Managing Director of Karnataka Urban Infrastructure Development Corporation (KUIDFC), said that new legislation would be formulated for the administrative and legal framework of the 8,200 sq km of Bangalore Metropolitan Region.

New zones

To ensure that people did not have to travel far, BBMP would have five more zones apart from the existing three, said Gaurav Gupta, Special Commissioner, BBMP. "We want to ensure that people do not have to travel more than eight km to reach a zonal office," he said.

The new zones are: Byatrayanapura zone (including Yelahanka and Byatrayanapura city municipal councils and 26 villages), Mahadevapura zone (including Krishnarajapuram and Maha- devapura CMCs and 23 villages), Bommanahalli zone (including Bommanahalli zone and 33 villages), Rajarajeshwarinagar zone (including Rajarajeshwarinagar CMC, Kengeri TMC and 17 villages) and Dasarahalli zone (Dasarahalli CMC and 11 villages).

K. Kasturirangan, chairman of the expert committee, said the recommendations would reflect concerns of all sections of society.


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