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The steel bridge project has been scrapped, but two very important issues remain. Firstly the conduct of Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) through this whole project - their attempts at shortcutting a mandatory public consultation with citizens, in a dubious manner bypassing any environmental impact assessment of scrutiny of the proposed felling of trees, inflating costs, avoiding any technical details until public pressure started mounting.
BDA in recent years has been a place of many scams n dubious decisions including denotifications of land - There is a need to investigate BDAs conduct threadbare and I promise it will be done. It should immediately bring transparency in its functioning and decision making. That is a demand and not request.
Secondly the lack of an overall multi-year Master plan and strategy that address Bengaluru’s various problems including traffic, water, dying lakes, illegal constructions and other issues. The lack of such a plan is helping these ad-hoc, non-transparent, project specific approach of some vested interests.
Therefore, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah must immediately start the process of creating a multi-year plan that creates city-wide solutions for traffic, water, garbage, public health, child and women safety, environment and lakes, heritage etc.
This plan should be developed by real experts and then discussed openly and transparently with citizens of the City in a mandatory Public Consultation. This must be planned with the Metropolitan Planning Commission (MPC) - Citizens and Citizen groups must be most important stakeholders in this planning.
BDA must stop using its Revised Master Plan (RMP) as a camouflage to provide additional FSI and large scale land use conversion to help the builders. It is clearly attempting to do that and it will be exposed and those trying to shortcut the process of deliberations and public consultations and being party to this will be held to account.
The RMP should address city-governance, public services, public infrastructure issues and must go through mandatory public consultation as per the guidelines laid down by the Supreme Court. Citizens must be given an opportunity to participate and their comments must be documented in the public domain with a reason for accepting or rejecting.
Therefore, if the MPC, RMP and public consultation is taken up together in a systematic fashion, and in line with the city’s growth, we will be able to address many of Bengaluru’s infrastructural problems. So, let the state government start this process of planning now fast.
It is not the first time that those whose shenanigans I expose, try and attack me. But they underestimate my determination to clean Bengaluru in Particular - and Governance in general from the parasites that seek to exploit it. I have been attacked many times, including when I was the first to raised 2G and other scams in Parliament in 2009/2010 by more eminent worthies.
There is one thing I have learned in politics - when you take away someone’s cookie jar of corruption, there is always a lot of ranting and screaming and anger. This case is no different.
In Karnataka, too I have been attacked. But I entered politics with a clear objective to make a difference so this stuff doesn’t distract me at all.
I am inspired by the people who quietly fight for our city - citizen groups like Citizen Action Forum, Citizens For Bengaluru; people like V Balasubramaniam, Justice Santosh Hegde, Freedom Fighter Doraiswamy and those heroes that are recognised every year by Namma Bengaluru Awards. They do more for our city than people like me. It was CAF and V Balasubramaniam who went to NGT and got a stay.
Fighting for our city doesn’t require anyone to be any Moghul let alone media. It needs grit and a determination not to allow the status-quo. My work for Bengaluru is as a citizen and as a MP representing great citizens. The fight for Bengaluru was a fight where all media and all citizens participated except some rare exceptions. I have fought many times before Bengaluru, but this was the largest coming together of people and media and political representatives to protect our Namma Bengaluru.
This article appeared in Deccan Chronicle on March 5, 2017