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ABIDe public consultation - a report

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The following members were conspicuous by their absence - Sri R Ashok, Sri Katta Subramanya Naidu, Dr Devi Shetty, Dr Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, Sri Ramesh Ramanathan, Prof M N Shrihari, Smt Anita Reddy, Sri M Lakshminarayan.

The question that arises is do the ministers see ABIDe as a rival power centre, and are consequently boycotting it, silently though, since it has the blessings of the CM. And, as to the so-called citizen representatives or experts, aren't these people already too involved in a number of other pursuits (including many for the benefit of Bengaluru and Karnataka) to be in a position to do justice to their being on this platform? I myself can readily come up with a number of alternate names of citizen representatives and experts who can spare the time to such bodies, and whose contribution can be as valuable if not more compared to what can be made by the current nominees. Of course, they will not be total 'yes men' (like many of the current nominees too aren't), but neither can they be labelled total obstructionists. So, why isn't the ABIDe engaging with such people?

Another point Sri Vinay Srinivasa (of Hasiru Usiru) raised was about the legal standing of ABIDe, to which Sri Ananth Kumar (the Vice Chairman) responded saying that the Chairman was none less than the CM, he and Sri Rajiv Chandrasekhar, duly elected MP's, were the VC and Convener respectively, and invitations had been sent out to all the elected representatrives, irrespective of party affiliations. Besides, ABIDe was essentially an advisory body trying to facilitate broader citizen interaction, in effect trying to make out that it was not an attempt at emasculating/ usurping the powers of the elected bodies. I shall say point well taken. It has been discussed many times over in PRAJA, one such being here

During the introductory remarks, Sri Ananth Kumar suggested the setting up of a 5000 MW captive power plant for Benagaluru. When I intervened, he went on to clarify that it was not going to located in the 'vicinity' of the city. Well, vicinity or not, I went on to state that, fortunately or unfortunately, the city does not have ready access to fuel resources, and that it will be far more sensible from economic, environment, and logistics stand-points to transmit power (generated near the fuel sources) to Bengaluru, than to transport the fuel here and burn it in our backyards to produce power. I commended the government's Chattisgarh joint venture in that respect - check here for more on that (As to the other matters regarding power, please read this and this).

Of the various subjects taken up by ABIDe (check their web-site), presentations were made by Sri R K Misra on 'Road, Traffic Management & Transportation'; By Sri A Ravindra on 'Govern Bengaluru', and by Prof Ashwin Mahesh on  'Heritage'.

During the inter-action session, I raised a query as to what had happened to BMLTA - whereas, before its formation, the talk at every meeting was that that was the panacea to all the city's transportation problems, there was no talk of it at all now, with its languishing without any power, so much so, when a BMTC chooses to set up a TTMC (and some ten of them are coming up all over - check this), the location, design, etc are decided more by saleability of space to BIG Bazaar, etc, than commuter facilitation.

I also asked why the Ho-Ho services, which in my opinion were very well conceived, were discontinued, and added that I suspected that Prof Ashwin Mahesh was not getting the necessary support from BMTC (possibly, because of the turf war between ABIDe and the city ministers, referred to in the 2nd para above - check this).

The programme schedule had announced that the 'concluding and thank you address' was to be made by the Convener at 13.20 hrs. However, even well after that time, the panelists continued allowing more and more questions to be raised, whether relevant or not, thus avoiding any discussions on the points raised earlier. From a citizen interaction point of view, it may thus be termed a fiasco.

On 'Govern Bengaluru', I would have liked to raise bring up points listed here, and on 'Heritage', those listed here. But, even if I had got the opportunity, I wouldn't have got a response, and that's perhaps why the 'upper house' idea (check here) being worked by Mr Manivannan in Mysore needs serious consideration from Begaluru stake-holders also.  


kbsyed61's picture

Consultation after making the recommendations!

126 users have liked.

Thanks Murali sir,  for posting the detailed report. It seems the media initially reported with this heading " It's a farce.." yesterday but changed its heading today.

I am not surprised to the citizens questioning ABIDe about the purpose of the meeting when recommendations were already made. One of the ABIDe member had clearly indicated in a private chat that he doesn't think all should be consulted. Basically he was saying "All are equal, but some are more equal".

Rithesh's picture

Thanks for the update

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Murali Sir,

Thanks for the report.

From the what i have read, here and else where, the event seamed like a PR exercise. ABIDe - it seams like, consists of pro Ananth Kumar group and I am not surprised by the absence of Mr Katta and Mr Ashok. 

And i am not at all surprised by their silence on BMLTA and other such important issues. At the most these people can make grand suggestion?

And what was this meet for - public consultation? Can anything real come out of such discussions? What possible consultation can they do with so many people, talking on multiple issues in such a short span of time? 

What happened to the Kasturirangan report that was publicized so much during ABIDe's formation - then it looked like the cornerstone of ABIDe's foundation.

ABIDe and powerhouse? It is just turning into a platform for groupism within the ruling party - what quantifiable thing have they achieved after they have come into existence - OK agreed they have printed and distribute vision documents - that too free of cost!!

"CM's blessings", this has become a cliche answer that u get when ever u question ABIDe. 


idontspam's picture

Consultation or Grievance redressal

106 users have liked.

Murali'avare, Thanks for the update.

It is going to be hard to hold any meaningful public consultation as people come to the meeting with expectations at different levels. Most cant think strategic and have day to day problems to deal with so it becomes a complaints sessions. How do we abstract day to day problems into a policy level issue. If the consultation was about the reports ABIDe has prepared, what point does it make to question legal standing of ABIDe etc? Isnt that a different forum all together?

It is important to make a strong statement in such forums which is pertinent to the task at hand and at an appropriate level where ABIDe will be focrced to consider it. Everything else will go in from one ear and out the other.

I would have pressed on BMLTA or its equivelant, its reponsibilities and powers. I would question what law is going to be changed to give it proper powers. There is mention about it in the ABIDe reports but see here for the awareness level. The statement on BMLTA needs to be worded appropriately to ensure it hits home and everybody sits up to take notice and answer it. comment guidelines

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