Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Bangalore Requires Administrative Autonomy!

Bangalore Requires Administrative Autonomy!  Times of India - R K Mishra Jul 29, 2012, 02.15AM 
Expecting much from a lame duck government which has barely eight months left would be akin to living in a make-believe world. Given that the CM, though a good man, owes his post to his caste and blessings of an ex-CM, we cannot expect much from the current government. Every single government in the past 15 years has willfully ignored the interests of Bangalore and destroyed 'Brand Bangalore'. They have succeeded in killing the golden goose of Karnataka. We need to save Bangalore from caste politics of Karnataka and incompetent politicians.
1. Break the current monstrous and unmanageable BBMP into five independent municipal corporations with their own mayors with a five-year term. Each zone will be manageable in size, self-sufficient in resources with revenue collection from their own industrial clusters.
2. Merge utility agencies like Bescom and BWWSB with these municipal corporations. This will ensure efficiency, accountability and better service quality. Bescom and BWWSB are singularly responsible for haphazard digging of Bangalore roads and messy storm water drain network. They have no planning and maintenance coordination with BBMP. There's no reason to carry on with these administrative fiefdoms. No major city in the world has such a structure.
3. Establish Metropolitan Planning Committee (MPC) as mandated in the 74th Amendment to the Constitution and dismantle BDA. A mega city like Bangalore needs a centralized planning agency like National Capital Region. MPC should be the sole statutory planning agency responsible for planned development of entire BMRDA area including five proposed municipal corporations. BDA has miserably failed in its role as a planning authority.
4. Establish independent Bangalore Infrastructure Development Corporation (BIDC). The city urgently needs more than Rs 50,000 crore of investment to meet the basic infrastructure needs. Neither the state government nor BBMP has resources or ability to raise funds from the market. Infrastructure development, planned and approved by MPC, should be implemented by BIDC by raising funds from the market borrowings, government grants, JNNURM funds, multilateral lending agencies & municipal bonds. Repayment should be from municipal tax revenues, infrastructure user fees and state's budgetary allocations.
5. None of the above will happen with current political parties interested only in milking Bangalore. While Karnataka benefits from Bangalore -- with just 15% of the population, Bangalore contributes 60% to state's GDP, it gets very little in return. Broken roads, open sewers, extended power cuts and dry water taps. Corruption and poor governance have sucked the life out of this beautiful city once the showpiece of India's growth story.
This must change! Bangalore should get an autonomous administrative region status outside the clutches of state government. None of the three existing political parties have Bangalore's interest at heart. Bangalore voters must recognize this. The city needs a new political party with a development agenda to Save Bangalore.
(The writer is member, ABIDEe)