Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Wait a month for new corporator

Wait a month for new corporator

Procedures will take up 3 weeks and he or she will meet you in May first week

PK Surendran

After the civic election results are announced on April 5, it will be at least a month before a corporator could become effectively functional for people's needs. Put it differently, it will be the first week of May when he/she sets up office and be ready to greet you.
The procedural course goes like this: declaration of results and notification, convening of council meeting, election of mayor and deputy mayor and various committees, budget and budget allocation. All this will take up over three weeks.
A corporator's functions and his/her dos and don'ts are not clearly spelt out in the Karnataka Municipal Corporation Act, civic experts say.
But a corporation has 18 civic functions and a corporator, as a member of the council, is logically expected to have as many functions. However, a councillor has no executive powers and can only represent and recommend mass issues and press for their solutions.
Civic analysts Kathyayini Chamaraj and V Ravichander and communications coordinator of Janaagraha Cheryl Rebello list some immediate responsibilities of an elected corporator. His/her overriding concern, they say, is for the improvement of the quality of life of his/her ward.
He or she can:
nTake up issues concerning basic amenities such as roads, drainage, water, and garbage clearance.• Set up a regular mass interactionmechanism
nDraw up a long-term and short-termmicro and macro development plan
nDiscuss with local representatives
and draft the budgetary needs
nBe a friend and guide to about
20,000 to 30,000 people of his or
her ward.
"A corporator is the most important representative of the people to present and press for the civic issues," says Cheryl.
As people in a city mostly face problems involving local self government, a corporator alone can come to the help of the locality he or she represents.
According to former corporator of Hoodi, Subha Raju, the most crucial areas a corporator spends his whole term involves "sa-pa-ma" which means sadak, pani aur makan. The rest are all peripherals. He says a corporator is as effective as he wants to be because the municipal act does not spell out the councillor's functions in clear terms.
The grey area
But – and this is a big but – there remains a grey area that threatens to undo the best intentions of the local self government.
According to the existing law, a corporator is to set up a ward committee within one month of his/her coming in. But four to five wards are clubbed together to form a ward committee which comprises 11 members. They are corporators 4, nominated (by govt) 5 and representatives of local NGOs 2.
One of the corporators will be elected chairman. But herein lies the catch, says Kathyayini Chamaraj.
If the four corporators happen to belong to different parties – and they generally are – there will develop an ego clash and each will try one-upmanship and the wardcommittees will finally be reduced to scarecrows. And, again, the governmentnomination goes to the workers of theparty in power.
"This defeats the very purpose of decentralised democratic set up," says she. Well-meaning civic organisations have been demanding to amend the act to make "one ward one committee" as suggested in the Bangalore Region Governance Bill. If this is not done, there will be no improvement in the civic works


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