Ministers and MPs to meet up on June 25th, to decide on reorganizing Bangalore

Ministers and MPs to meet up on June
25th, to decide on reorganizing Bangalore
State government that is keen on re-organizing
Bangalore is going all out, to put the process running before the SEC declares
BBMP elections. Ministers and MPs will meet on June 25th. Select Committee on
BBMP Re-organizing will meet on July 4th, after BBMP Re-organizing Committee
submits its final report.

With the High Court on Monday
ordering the State government and SEC to conduct Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara
Palike (BBMP) polls on time, air of apprehension has surrounded the BBMP re-organizing
process. CM Siddaramaiah has called for a meeting tomorrow, on June 25th 2015,
in which selected ministers in the state government, MPs, MLAs and MLCs from Bangalore,
the Urban Development Additional Chief Secretary, the BBMP Administrator and
the BBMP Commissioner will take part. The meet is expected to decide on whether
the BBMP will be restructured or not. While the BBMP Re-organizing Expert
Committee is likely to submit its final report to the government on June 30th
2015, the Legislative Council Select Committee which has been entrusted with
the task of studying re-organizing process too has been holding last rounds of
discussions. Govt keen on passing Bangalore reorganisation Bill Based on an
interim report submitted by expert committee on BBMP re-organizing, the
government drafted Karnataka Municipal Corporations (Amendment) Bill, 2015
which gave flexibility to the government to form multiple corporations. Since
the Bill received objection in the Legislative Council, it was referred to a
13-member Legislative Council Select Committee. The Committee was asked to
study the Bill and propose amendments if any. The committee chaired by IT &
BT Minister S R Patil comprises of six members from Indian National Congress
(INC), five members from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and two members from
Janata Dal (S) (JD(S). While both the committees are doing their job, highly
placed sources said that the government is eager to pass the Bill with
amendment or in existing form, in the Legislative session commencing next week.
Select committee to decide on the Bill Meanwhile, the 13-member Legislative
Council Select Committee which has discussed the issue in its meetings in last
one month, conducted yet another meeting on Tuesday, June 23 2015. According to
sources, the BJP members in the Committee are demanding to conduct a few study
tours to examine other models of corporations. However, it is learnt that the CM
has suggested that the committee submit its report soon so that the Bill could
be tabled in the upcoming Legislative session. One of the members of the Select
Committee told Citizen Matters that the committee is waiting for the Expert
Committee on BBMP Re-organizing to submit its final report. “We have held a few
rounds of discussions on the Bill. There was differences of opinion among
members initially. Now, all the members are convinced about the need for re-organizing
BBMP for a better Bangalore. BJP members in the committee have demanded that
the Palike should not be divided to retain ‘brand Bangalore’ identity. Hence,
we too are not recommending division of the city, but are only pressing to
bring administrative changes for the effective functioning of Palike,” said the
member who did not wish to be named. The Committee is expected to hold yet
another meeting on July 4th. However, he contended that the High Court judgment
on BBMP polls will have its impact on the Select Committee report. If the
elections are held next month, the report will obviously be less relevant, the
member said. What if the Bill doesn’t get nod in Council? If at all the KMC
(Amendment) Bill, 2015 is not passed in the Legislative Council, where majority
of council members are from BJP and JD(S), then the government can push it
again in the Legislative Assembly. Once it is passed in the Assembly, the Bill can
be sent to the Governor for his approval, to make it an Act. When
District-in-Charge Minister Ramalinga Reddy was asked if the government would
halt BBMP re-organizing process due to polls, he said both were separate
aspects. “Election will happen on its own and re-organizing too might take
place parallelly. It is upto the CM to decide,” he added. Govt to approach
Supreme Court? Even as the SEC is getting set to announce election date on June
26th 2015, highly placed sources said that the government is mulling over
approaching the Supreme Court (SC) on High Court judgment. According to the
apex court order last month, BBMP election is to be held before August 5th and
it is believed that SEC has tentatively fixed July 26th as the polling date.
However, the State government is free to move to the SC questioning HC
judgment. The Supreme Court has the liberty to issue an order till the day SEC
issues election notification. Even if the SEC announces election schedule this
week, it will take some time for the Election Commission to issue the
notification. ‘Re-organizing and election not related to each other’ V
Ravichandar, a member of Expert Committee on BBMP Re-organizing told Citizen
Matters that the committee is almost ready with its report and will submit it
to the government on June 30th. “We hope the report will not gather dust post
election. It would have been nice if the government had formed the re-organizing
committee in advance or if we were in a position to submit the report early.
Having worked hard on re-organizing report for last seven months, it would have
been ideal if the re-organizing process had taken place prior to election,” he
said. On asked if the committee foresees problems in re-organizing process due
to the election to be held next month, Ravichandar said the committee sees
election and re-organizing as two different processes. “We have done our job
and it is upto the government to take up re-organizing after the polls or not,”
the member said. To a query on what the final report of the committee proposes,
he said crux of the interim report and final report is the same. Final report
is more elaborative with all specifications. “Re-organizing committee has
proposed for dividing greater Bangalore into five corporations. In the KMC
Amendment Bill, the government has not specified it, but has only given
flexibility to form multiple corporations. The committee proposes three tier
system in the corporation, with financial power to wards and zones,” he said.
Considering the ever-increasing population of Bangalore, the city should
ideally have more than existing number of wards. But, the existing municipal
corporation law has set a maximum limit of 200 wards per corporation.
Therefore, for creating more number of wards and reshuffling, the corporation
has to be divided, he added