Citizens who participated in a discussion organised by CIVIC Bangalore today vehemently called for an effective mechanism for proper implementation of the Master Plan of BDA. The discussion was held in the light of BDA calling for inputs from citizens to its proposed Revised Master Plan (RMP) for 2035.
P S S Thomas, retired IAS officer and former chairman of the Advisory Committee on RMP 2015, who made the opening remarks, stressed the need for citizens to be involved at all stages of the planning process and not merely at the final draft stage. All 30 sister organisations, such as BWSSB, BESCOM, BMTC, etc., also needed to be involved in the consultation process, which had not happened during the drafting of RMP 2015.
There was no Action Taken Report on BDA’s website on RMP 2015 and no analysis of what challenges were faced and how they were met during its implementation except for the cryptic statement that "challenges were experienced during the implementation". The Advisory Committee had recommended that there should be a committee headed by the Chief Secretary to review the implementation of RMP 2015 but this had not been set up.
As such there was no institutional arrangement to monitor implementation of the Master Plan. Thomas also emphasised the need for civil society organisations to strengthen their own capacities for responding to the plans and for BDA to take ownership of the Plan and its implementation. He lamented the lack of an attempt at growth with equity in the plans.
Anjali Mohan, Consulting Urban and Regional Planner, emphasised the need for building in the process of involving citizens and other line agencies of the government at every stage of the planning while submitting the Request for Proposal itself to the consultants.
The necessary finances and time-frames too for this process needed to be built into the bid. Though training and capacity building of BDA had been undertaken during the roll out process of RMP 2015, it did not bring in ownership of the Plan and its implementation by BDA. It was essential to ensure that RMP 2035 did not meet the same fate. She also lamented the lack of consonance between the Structure Plan of BMRDA and the RMP of BDA and the fact that the plans of the BWSSB, BESCOM, BMTC and BDA "never talked to one another".
Anjali cited the example of Delhi Development Authority which had called for all line agency plans and consolidated them into the master plan. She also stressed the need to break down the Master Plan into local area plans as citizens could give inputs only at the local level.
Karveer of Kalyannagar Residents’ Association lamented that without a strict regulatory mechanism for implementing the zonal regulations and building bye-laws, etc., prescribed in the Plan, it would remain on paper and Bangalore would continue to develop in a haphazard way.
Dwarkanath of North Bangalore Residents’ Association questioned the very Constitutionality and legality of both BMRDA and BDA making plans for Bangalore when the 74th Constitutional Amendment required a Metropolitan Planning Committee with two-thirds elected representatives to make plans for the Bangalore Metropolitan Region and the local planning to be devolved to the urban local body, BBMP. Some others stressed the need to engage with the existing system while parallely working for the legal structures to be constituted.