“Ward Committee appointments must be transparent”

I welcome and support the demand from various citizens groups, media and RWAs for transparency in nominations to the ward committees.

The demand to constitute the ward committees is a long standing one and residents and other citizen groups have sought this for several years and this had been included in the recommendations of ABIDe chaired by then Chief Minister. It is fortunate that the High Court of Karnataka has intervened when requests from citizens had failed to move the Government and BBMP to act.

So, now the BBMP must ensure transparent criteria in appointments of members to the committee and ensure that the Ward committees have representations from the members of the Resident Welfare Associations and constituted in a way that has it has true neighbourhood level representation from different parts of the ward.

We must not forget the ward committees are simply the way to ensure citizens and residents have visibility, oversight of and a say in the development of and public service delivery in their wards and their neighbourhoods. Proper representation on these ward committees is something that ABIDe had recommended as part of the required reforms in city governance. There will be reluctance from some vested interests amongst corporators and MLAs who do not want transparency and citizen involvement. It’s time for political parties to take a position on reforms and transparency or be exposed.

I understand there are some suggestions to dilute the citizen involvement by adopting non transparent and ad-hoc methods to nominate members. I would urge the BBMP leadership to refrain from this – this will be unforgivable and against the spirit of High Court Order that was a consequence of a PIL, which will predictability lead to further anger and dissatisfaction among the citizens, who are already highly dissatisfied with the current state of affairs in our city.

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