BENGALURU: Newly-elected Member of Parliament, Bengaluru South, Tejasvi Surya, said the current system of mayoral elections resembles a game of musical chairs. For the betterment of the city, there is a need for direct elections, which will extend the tenure of the mayor’s post to at least 3-5 years. However, most importantly, it will give Bengaluru an exclusive legislation, he said.
Speaking to The New Indian Express in an exclusive interview, Surya said he has penned a letter to Chief Minister B S Yediurappa, raising all these points, and the latter has assured he will look into it.
Brushing aside allegations that this is a purely political move, Surya said, “The BJP is the single largest party here, so chances of the proposal being shunned are low. The proposal of eight zonal commissioners is a cosmetic one, we need a surgical strike to tackle civic issues. Bad roads and garbage problems are all symptoms of administrative malice, so this reform is required.”
He said bringing in an exclusive legislation for Bengaluru — Nava Bengaluru Act — was also promised by the BJP in its 2018 manifesto.
Currently, Bengaluru city’s municipal administration is under the Karnataka Municipal Corporations (KMC) Act 1976, which is an archaic and obsolete legislation, and does not cater to the needs of a growing metropolis like Bengaluru. Bangalore Electricity Supply Company (BESCOM), Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB), Bangalore Development Authority (BDA), Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC), Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Limited (BMRCL) and the police are all functioning as independent agencies. They should work together, in harmony, he said.
He said the Karnataka Municipal Corporations Act does not reflect the true spirit of the the 73rd and 74th amendment of the Indian Constitution. The 73rd amendment envisages the local civic body as the foundation of the Panchayat Raj System, which will perform functions and powers entrusted to it by the state legislatures.
The 74th amendment seeks to provide a common framework for the structure and mandate of urban local bodies, to enable them to function as effective democratic units of local self government. The Karnataka Municipal Corporations Act does not define the role of a mayor, and there is no codification regarding the powers and responsibility of the mayor.
Commenting on the proposal to let the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) commissioner, who also holds the Additional Chief Secretary post, to head all agencies, Surya said this was not what the Constitution envisaged in the 73rd and 74th amendments.
“In a democracy, elected leaders must head policy-making and administration of the city. This is not a commissioner’s duty. So why have a mayor at all?” he questioned.
duties of a MAYOR are...
- He/she should ensure there is better coordination between civic agencies.
- The mayor should ensure corruption within BBMP ends.
- He/she should bring in more technological advances in urban governance.
- Smart City funds have been left unutilised and unspent. Mayor should ensure these are used effectively.
- A mayor should educate people on the statutory limitations of his role.