Former chief secretary and Advisor to CM on Urban Affairs Dr A Ravindra favoured direct election for the post of Mayor as well as a five-year term with adequate powers to concentrate on development.
Speaking after inaugurating a seminar on ‘Urban Governance, Development and Service Delivery’ organised by the Institute for Social and Economic Change (ISEC) here on Saturday, he said, “In the absence of political leadership, the directly elected Mayor with sufficient powers could be held responsible for any omissions and commissions when it comes to development of the city.”
“Delhi has carved out three municipalities out of its single corporation, should Bangalore go Delhi way is a matter for deliberation. Decentralisation and empowering people is the fundamental issue which has to be debated in urban governance in India. We must strengthen urban local bodies,” he said.
Citing episodes on urban governance over the exodus of people from the Northeast (NE) states and the garbage crisis, Ravindra said that the urban governance has failed to handle these situations.
In the case of NE exodus, people know that while the CM is the head of the state, home minister looks after law and order affairs. But in the case of BBMP, it was not clear who was in charge as responsibility was shifted from one person to another in connection with disposal of municipal waste, he said.
He pointed out that according to Karnataka Municipal Corporation Act, 1976, the functions of authorities in a corporation - the elected council, the Standing Committees and the Commissioner - are specified in the Act, but the overall accountability gets blurred and diluted in practice.
“It is imperative to revisit the 74th Amendment to the Constitution and effect necessary amendments that will bestow clarity and specificity on the powers and functions of the municipalities as well as the State Governments in matters of urban governance,” he observed.
He said that an urban development policy for the state and a Bangalore Metropolitan Region Governance Bill, which are in the draft stage, will address issues.
Mentioning that the BJP did nothing to implement Kasturirangan Committee Report on new governance structure for Bangalore, Prof K R S Murthy, chairman, Board of Governors, ISEC, said, “We need some kind of pressure groups with dynamic network of social institution, to keep the citizens informed and exert pressure (on the Government).”