September 11, 2014
Dear Shri Siddaramaiah
I write to you with reference to the recent Government order notifying elections to the Bangalore Metropolitan Planning Committee (MPC) on the 16th of September 2014. I had written to you earlier about this on 22nd November 2013 and so despite the long delay, this is a welcome move and is a first important step to ensure planned approach to the development and growth of our city.
I am writing to draw your attention that however, there are some fundamental flaws in the MPC rules that prevent them from being truly representative of the letter and spirit of the 74t Amendment of the Constitution. While the 20 members of the MPC will be elected in the elections schedule for later next week, there is an equally important need to ensure citizen participation in the planning process by ensuring they are duly represented amongst the other non-elected members of the MPC.
The MPC rules need the following changes, which have been raised by citizens and in my letter to you on November 22nd 2013, during the framing of the draft rules (attached for your reference):
- The MPC in its current form does not provide for the real and active participation of citizens. Without their participation, the MPC is in violation and inconsistent with the 74th Amendment that envisages a specific role for ward committees, citizens, RWAs and NGOs. This is a glaring omission and must be addressed. I would urge at least 2-3 RWAs to be represented in the MPC. Further I would request you that rules prescribe that all ward committees chaired by Corporators have local RWAs nominated to them.
- Of the remaining 10 members of the MPC, at least 2-3 should be experienced in Urban. By making only a fleeting reference to consult NGOs and other professional bodies in preparing the draft development plan, the MPC in its current form deviates from the mandate of the 74th Amendment Act and MPC will not be able to deliver on the promise of better planning and development.
- While the rules have the Chief Minister, MLAs and MLCs as Members of the MPC, the Mayor who represents the largest and most important part of the Bangalore Metropolitan Area has been excluded, must be included if there is to be real devolution of planning powers and autonomy. While the draft rules did not include the BBMP Commissioner, I am glad that the Government consented to citizen views on this and the BBMP Commissioner has been included in the MPC in the final rules.
The 74th amendment of our constitution represents the need for devolved planning and development of cities with active citizen participation. The cities woes and decline are a direct consequence of lack of transparency and citizen involvement in determining the nature and type of development for their cities.
Constitution of the MPC marks a significant Urban Governance reform and I would urge you to implement it in letter and spirit and include my suggestions/requests. That is the only way to reverse the many years of decline and exploitation of this city and to develop our city to be a beacon of investments and tourists and act as gateway to investments and development to our state Karnataka. Our people and our city and state deserve better than what we are seeing today. They deserve a Government and institutions that work in partnership with citizens, rather than the current situation of numerous legal disputes and conflicts between residents and Government.
Hon’ble Chief Minister,
Government of Karnataka