July 17, 2014
Dear Shri Siddaramaiah
I write to you with increasing concern about the current state of Governance in Bangalore.
The city for several years has seen a decline into urban chaos and crisis management on all fronts -ranging from Solid waste management and cleanliness and related issues of Public health to law and order and safety of women, children and elderly.
Your government came to power on a promise of Good governance. There is ample evidence that Bangalore is suffering from a severe Governance deficit, as evident most recently, in inept handling of the garbage crisis and now in the CAG Report made public a few days back, that exposes several financial irregularities worth hundreds of Crores of Rupees at the BBMP, while pointing out how BBMP lost out on Rs.287 Crores grant for waste management under JNNURM grant due to the lack of a Master Plan!
As you are aware, I have been urging your Government to develop a Master plan or vision for the development of our city. This lack of a planned approach for the development of our city is directly responsible for the lack of transparency in governance, an adhoc contracting system and the almost complete dominance of vested interests and corruption. Your government is failing to intervene on this, despite repeated urgings to do so and your commitment during state elections at ushering in Good Governance.
It is obvious to any proper thinking citizen, public servant or public representative that Bangalore’s myriad problems, whether they are issues of traffic, waste management, corruption in contracts, and public safety stem from more fundamental issues of governance, planning and institutional performance in terms of delivery of public services. These problems are not searching for miracles but only for leadership interested in protecting and nurturing the city.
As I have reiterated several times in the past, the Government must strive towards a new comprehensive, multi-year plan, formed through a process of consultation. The plan must address the fundamental issues of statutory planning for the city and include governance reform through reconstitution of the Metropolitan Planning Committee (MPC) that will have representation of Citizen Groups, RWAs and genuine town planning experts and reflect its objective of citizen participation in letter and spirit. This reconstituted MPC must take the lead on this vision and reforms for the city.
Government can consider a new multi-year plan for Bengaluru
Every modern city, be it New York, London, Barcelona etc has multi-year plans that drive their growth. In 2010, thousands of well meaning and thinking citizens working put together Plan Bengaluru 2020 document - an integrated vision on all issues related to Bengaluru. The document emphasized the need for planning and reforms in governance of city, pointing out to dangers and costs incurred due to the ad- hoc approach to city and its resident's problems. Though accepted by the previous government, the recommendations weren’t implemented.
If the government seeks to consider a new plan for the city, it is free to do so. But, any such plan must stress on urgent Governance Reforms and a planned approach to the city’s development that takes into account the aspirations of the citizens. This is important because our city has no dearth of plans for its development or visions for its development, it is lacking an honest and transparent plan that provides a voice of silent majority of RWAs and citizens. The views of citizens and RWAs are now being drowned out by high profile experts and organizations who are self proclaimed experts in Urban Planning, known for their views in media than real experience and commitment to the city. This was evident in the manner pressure is being mounted on the Government to accept KIG 2020 Report, which is opposed by hundreds of RWAs and Citizen Groups, who feel the Report panders to vested interests and fails to address challenges faced by the city and citizens. The government must take note of citizens’ objections.
I urge you to now to take the lead and initiative on this new plan for our city. I urge you to deliver on your promise on Governance and usher in Governance reforms in our city. Our city’s decline needs to be stopped and a new period of urban renewal started which our city and millions of hardworking citizens deserve. Government should act now, prevent our city from being ravaged any further, intervene and engage with RWAs and other stakeholders to address the fundamental flaws of the MPC Act and finalise a new multi-year statutory plan for the city.
I look forward to your positive response on this issue at the earliest.
Chief Minister, Government of Karnataka