BENGALURU: Newly-elected Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) councillors cutting across party lines are demanding a pay hike.
While the BBMP is currently spending around Rs 2.5 crore per annum on councillors’ honorarium, to meet the new demand it might have to double the amount.
A Congress councillor said as of now a councillor gets Rs 7,500 as honorarium. “Each ward in Bengaluru is equal to an Assembly constituency in other districts. MLAs get Rs 1 lakh. Each Assembly constituency has seven to eight wards. If we go by this, we should be getting at least Rs 14,000,” he said.
“But we get Rs 7,500. It is a pittance. As our party is in power in the BBMP as well as the state, we will make sure that the honorarium will increase at least two to three times in the coming days,” he said.
Second-time councillor from BJP, Umesh Shetty, said when Yeddyurappa was chief minister in 2010, their honorarium was increased. “We do not have any issues with the honorarium we get. Some of the first-time councillors may be demanding it as they are comparing it with the MLAs’ honorarium,” he said.
Former mayor Shanthakumari from BJP said on an average, their telephone bills come to around Rs 5,000 and they need five litres of petrol daily. This apart, they have two to three staff members to work for them. “If there is any problem in their area, people call us and not the MLA. It is we who travel and reach our citizens more than the MLAs,” she said. “Councillors’ salaries should be fixed at least Rs 25,000 per month,” she said.
‘Here to Serve People’
A senior Congress councillor said they are here to serve the public. “It is not salary. It is just an honorarium. Our colleagues should keep this in mind,” he said.
M Shivaraju from Congress, chairman of the Taxation and Finance Committee, said at present the BBMP was going through a financial crisis. “Moreover, if the state government gives its nod to one corporation, councillors from other corporations will also demand a hike. This will be an additional burden to the state government. It is just a few days since we came to power, we will discuss this with the officials in the coming days,” he said.
Councillors of the Bangalore Mahanagara Palike used to get Rs 1,500 per month as honorarium, Rs 200 per session as allowance to attend the council meeting, Rs 500 as travel allowance and Rs 100 for standing committee members to attend the meeting. While the mayor’s honorarium was Rs 5,000, the deputy mayor’s was Rs 3,500. The honorarium of councillors was increased in 2010, during Yeddyurappa’s rule.
When Sharadamma was mayor, the Council had passed a resolution fixing the honorarium for mayor at Rs 40,000, deputy mayor at Rs 30,000 and councillors at Rs 25,000.
It also stated that members should get Rs 1,500 for a session sitting, Rs 5,000 as vehicle allowance, and Rs 6,000 as telephone allowance.
Deputy Mayor S P Hemalatha said this amount was less for members representing wards of a city like Bengaluru. “I shall discuss it with the mayor, commissioner and other leaders. A decent hike will be done,” she said.
When contacted, Mayor Manjunath Reddy said he would discuss the issue with the state government before taking any decision.
City-in-charge Minister Ramalinga Reddy said if the councillors write to him, he would speak to Chief Minister Siddaramiah and get them a hike. “In a city like Bengaluru, Rs 7,500 is a pittance,” he agreed. Even the expenditure on diesel would be more, he said.