Wednesday, March 17, 2010

BBMP jurisdiction is vast but resources are limited

BBMP jurisdiction is vast but resources are limited

S. Rajendran
The jurisdiction of the BBMP is spread over

800 sq km

‘Pressure on the administration is of a very

high order'

Bangalore: The political battle for control over Bangalore has commenced. Elections to the council of the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike are scheduled for March 28 and credit for this should go to the Karnataka High Court and the Supreme Court, which firmly ruled that the elections to the civic body cannot be put off any further.

The term of the last council expired in November 2006 and since then the BBMP has been under a long spell of administrator's rule. For over three years, elections to the all-important civic body in the State has been put off on the pretext of delimitation of the municipal wards.

From an earlier strength of 70 wards, which formed part of the jurisdiction of the erstwhile Bangalore City Corporation (BCC), the ward strength was raised to 87 in 1983 and to 100 in 1996 when the BMP (Bangalore Mahanagara Palike) was formed. Thereafter, in just under a year, the number of wards has been raised to 198 with the first being in March 2008 when the ward strength was raised to 145 and again in December 2009 when it was raised to 198. The Bangalore City Corporation came into being in 1949 with the merger of the Bangalore City Council (which had jurisdiction over city areas) and the Bangalore Cantonment (largely comprising the military areas).

If the incumbent Government headed by B.S. Yeddyurappa tried hard to buy time in holding the elections, it was no different under the previous regime headed by H.D. Kumaraswamy that put off the elections on the pretext of delimiting the wards which form part of the BBMP. In January 2007, the Kumaraswamy Government merged seven city municipal councils (Rajarajeshwarinagar, Dasarahalli, Bommanahalli, Krishnarajapuram, Mahadevapura, Byatarayanapura and Yelahanka), the Kengeri Town Municipal Council and 111 villages adjoining Bangalore city with the BBMP. The objective of this exercise was to ensure uniform development and provision of civic amenities in the Bangalore metropolitan agglomeration. The jurisdiction of the BBMP is now spread over 800 sq km with a population of around 75 lakh while the jurisdiction of the erstwhile BMP was limited to about 325 sq km. It is the fourth (in terms of certain set parameters) metropolitan municipal corporation after New Delhi, Chennai and Greater Mumbai.

In the view of the first Commissioner of the BBMP S. Subramanya, the pressure on BBMP administration is of a very high order. “People expect the best while the tax remittance to the municipal corporation is of a very low order. People indulge in deviations of building bylaws with scant regard to the rule of law. Added to this is the pressure on road infrastructure. The total number of motor vehicles here is 36 lakhs compared to 37 lakhs in New Delhi, 16 lakhs in Mumbai and 17 lakhs in Chennai.”


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