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Whats really ahead after BBMP election

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Urban DevelopmentGovernance

dear all,

Its time to start redefining in our own minds, on who is responsible for what after the BBMP elections.

In the vacuum these last few years, MLAs’ filed the space for citizen grieviences.The BBMP engineers started to come directly under them. Task forces were set up to almost run the city. The parstatals (BDA, BWSSB etc) became more a law unto themselves. (The elections themselves will not change the parastals; a governance bill is required for that) .And citizen direct invovelement, even thro a badly run and set up ward committee disappeared (Again a governance reform issue).

First thing, is to realize that a MLA’s job is to provide and monitor the laws and rules of the State. He should have nothing to do with how or where a road is built in a ward.

The councilor is responsible for ward priorities and resource allocations, through direct interaction with citizens or ward committees. He has nothing to do with the engineering aspects or the actual commercial tendering decisions.

Some of them have moral and positional oversight over others, but not direct interference in the others jurisdiction.

That’s how our governance and democracy is supposed to work.

And the citizens, have the fundamental responsibility of making sure that the governance works, not just by voting but being involved 365 days. As someone said democracy is not a spectator sport!!

What we must guard against, once this new opportunity is given in the form of BBMP elections, is that we must ourselves put a stop, to what I call “patronage governance”, which a favour is seeking method based on who you know.

By all means, use your closeness to the powers that be, including a lowly BBMP engineer, but to do things by process of law and provisions, not to circumvent them.

Soon after the elections the governance bill should come up in the cabinet, which will discuss devolution of powers, ward committees, mayors, municipal planning committees etc. That’s where the MLA should be working feverishly on; if he or she really wants to help citizens .And that’s where we, as citizens and civil society, should shift our focus, to ensure it really happens .If it does not, and there’s every chance that it will not, then its business as usual irrespective of BBMP elections. 

I have said too much. Meanwhile, happy voting. 

Vijayan menon


sanjayv's picture

Beautifully said Mr. Menon

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 Couldn't agree more or have out this better myself.

idontspam's picture


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What we must guard against, once this new opportunity is given in the form of BBMP elections, is that we must ourselves put a stop, to what I call “patronage governance”, which a favour is seeking method based on who you know

How will you do this? My parents have a neighbour who believes this is the only way he get to do what he wants and it works for him. He pays the lineman to get illegal connections to his house, he pays the BBMP to threaten neighbours and violate byelaws, he pays the BWSSB to get extra water connection or pays then to ignore the blockage in the SWD so he doesnt have to shift the stones leading to his door step. He pays a constable to threatn people on the street when things dont go his way.

All so he can violate every rule in the book destroy the commons for measly 2 feet space in his bedroom, extra water so he need not suffer while everybody else goes to the dogs, he can block rain water and flood the neighbours house so he doesnt have to shift stones leading to his door step. How do you fix these people? And it works because the lowly lineman, cleaners, sweepers etc take his chai-paani money. He has not changed int he past 10 years, all our education is bull c**p for him. He takes pleasure in violation. How do you fix them when the people who are supposed to be responsible for the commons encourage this behaviour for the 100 rupees they get?

It is the responsibility & integrity of the lowest common denominator that counts

Naveen's picture

Well said, Mr Menon, IDS

179 users have liked.

Mr Menon - greatly appreciated, & your gist of how our system is designed will help many to at least begin understanding their responsibilities.

IDS - Perfect summation about how things go wrong in our so called democracy consisting of a huge majority of greedy people. I have had arguments with many about how freedom is being misused & money used freely to result in such an unresponsive & rotten system where private or individual interests always dominate instead of public good, instead of it being the other way around (as it is in most of the world).

In our stupid system, one group can hold the entire city to ransom by stalling public works. CMH traders is a good example, but the courts seem to have finally put them in their place, at least in this case.

vmenon's picture

tough question idontspam!!

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This guy seems to be a general toughy, I guess.You need to have a collective push against him, neighbours and others against him.But therein lies the issue of citizens actually standing together .I ftheer is RWA which has the guts , them maybe.In many instances in koramangala, people have gone to court for similar issues ,only remember , the person/s complaining need to have clean hands on similar building violations etc. 

but working for a collective action is the way to go, iwould say and that does not happen overnight.







silkboard's picture

Had a lot to say Mr Menon

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... so ended up writing a separate "what's needed after election" work list, with two clear items. Here - election over, time for .. comment guidelines

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