Sunday, January 21, 2007

NGOs seek committee to monitor BBMP

NGOs seek committee to monitor BBMP
Deccan Herald

Will Greater Bangalore aid land-grabbers usurp 300-odd sq km of agriculture land that falls within Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) limits? Will slum-dwellers be displaced under the pretext of development? Can Bangaloreans hope for new legislations to curb corruption or award ‘right-to-recall’ an elected representative for non-performance?

On Saturday, the Expert Committee for Greater Bangalore, headed by Rajya Sabha MP Dr K Kasturirangan, held its first meeting with NGOs after the final notification. However, the very first demand of the NGOs was to form a Standing Committee for BBMP to sustain its tempo and effective implementation of the plan.

“The Committee should stand up to the challenges of streamlining the inputs and reviewing the progress rather than work as a rubber stamp panel,” warned the NGOs.

“We want a Standing Committee for constant monitoring and feedback, as we risk losing valuable inputs from stakeholders if the panel is only temporary. The Committee members should be assisted by a team of professionals to work out practical solutions. We have enough baggage of ideas and what we need is effective implementation,” said Prof NS Ramaswamy, director, Cartman.

“We fear that the GB will overlook the welfare of slum dwellers or the urban poor. Can we ensure basic services and welfare schemes to this group in the given plan?,” asked Mr Muralidhara Rao, Awake.

“Consultation for GB was not satisfactory. At least now, the government must ensure that every bit of information is in public domain. The mandatory reforms like public disclosure should be effectively implemented, while development must look beyond infrastructure,” reminded Ms Kathyayini Chamaraj, Civic.

“Given the disparities existing across the BMP core area, planning for a bigger area should go beyond infrastructure,” added Mathew Thomas, CAF.


The formation of Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BMP) has formidable challenges as there is great disparity across the BBMP area, argued the NGOs.

“Is the government blind to the farmers’ woes. The industrial and urban waste is dumped into our farmlands. And, haphazard growth has polluted and poisoned our groundwater. While private builders bully us into selling our lands, the government acquires our land at dirt cheap rates.

There is no escape from corruption and harassment by middlemen and government officials. We want a separate committee to safeguard the interests of farmers,” demanded Mr Ramaswamy Reddy, Bharathiya Kisan Sangha.

Meanwhile, the Committee comprising deputy chairman of state planning board A Ravindra, Public Affairs Centre (PAC) chairman Samuel Paul among others shared their concerns with the NGOs and hoped to evolve strategies for planned growth of the City.


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