BENGALURU: In an embarrassment to the State government, Congress MLAs from Bengaluru have objected to the Urban Development Department’s order to increase the number of zones in the Bruhata Bengaluru Mahnagara Palike (BBMP) from eight to ten. This has led to a delay in the reorganisation of zones.
The MLAs concerned suspect that the move would lead to a backlash ahead of the Assembly polls next year. The order dated June 12, 2017 issued by K A Hidayuttulla, Deputy Secretary (Urban Development Department), says that due to uneven geographical areas under the zones, there was disparity in the tax collection and fund allotment. Increasing the zones may help in the efficient disposal of garbage.
Sources in BBMP said that the civic agency had decided to keep the plan on hold. “Zonal restructuring was suggested for administrative reasons. The number of wards and Assembly constituency would remain the same. This has taken a political colour,’’ sources said.
A senior official from Urban Development Department said there had been no progress on the matter, so far. “Some Congress MLAs don’t favour this move. They say that change in zonal offices would inconvenience the voters, who would blame the Congress. They think this will have a negative impact on them in the election next year,” he said.
Yeshwantpur MLA S T Somashekar from Congress said that his Assembly constituency falls under Rajarajeshwari Nagar zone. However, under the new zone, the BBMP office would be in Dasarahalli on Hesaraghatta Road. “People living in Thalaghattapura in my constituency have to travel at least 40km to reach the zone office. The old Rajarajeshwarinagar zone office is about 10 km away from Thalaghattapura. I have raised this objection. Why should people from my constituency suffer?’’ he asked. When asked if his objection was embarrassing to the government, he said: “This is why I just objected, otherwise I would have protested.”
“It’s not just me, Rajarajeshwari Nagar MLA Munirathna, a Congress member, has objected for the same reason,’’ Somashekar added. However, Munirathna did not say much. The 100 wards of Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike were increased to 198 in 2007, besides increasing the corporation’s area.
The State government has stressed that a mayor and a commissioner cannot handle such a huge area. Later, a BBMP Restructuring Committee was constituted, headed by former Chief Secretary B S Patil along with other members- former BBMP Commissioner Siddaiah and urban development expert V Ravichandar. The committee favoured splitting of the BBMP for better administration. One of the major recommendations of the committee was to have even-sized zones in BBMP.
How will the new zones be different?
Under the new system, South, East and West Zones would be replaced with Jayanagar, Malleswaram, Gandhinagar, Sarvajnanagar and Vijayanagar zones. The remaining zones --Yelahanka, Dasarahalli, Mahadevapura, Bommanahalli and Rajarajeshwarainagar zones --would retain their names.