Revamped BBMP, report card for BBMP corporators and other dreams

IF I WERE THE BENGALURU MAYOR

Mayor is the first citizen of a city.  Members of the Council with elected body of corporators from various wards of the city, MLAs, MLCs, local MPs, and nominated members elect a Mayor. Bengaluru city has 198 wards and had a population of around 8 million in 2016. This has resulted in significant pressure on the city’s infrastructure, water resources, water supply, in meeting the basic needs of its citizens. Mayor should know his powers, responsibilities and play an important role to keep his citizens happy. Mayor’s term is short, and he must get into the act from the word go, for the welfare of citizens.

Once beautiful city, situated at 3000 feet above sea level, Bengaluru has the most wonderful weather among the cities of India. Our city was healthy, clean, quiet — something immigrants from other cities weren’t familiar with! We had enough water for all residents. The city’s health indicators are its water bodies, botanical gardens, boulevards, salubrious climate, pure fresh air with scent of seasonal blossoms, slow paced life, trees, undulating terrain led to fast clearing of rain water after a quick downpour. We were proud of Alikallu male (hailstorms) in every April. No flooding and none got washed away, trees were healthy with their beautiful canopy on roads. Alas!

Where has Bengaluru of sixties to eighties gone?

Has so-called development hijacked Bengaluru? Real development is about getting organised better, but our city has grown without plan, as a cancer — a burden to the existing infrastructure. Our ground water table is drying up.

This needs to be stopped, with effective measures. For example, why not put an immediate stop to the high-rises by freezing real estate through cancellation of licenses for the next 20 years? The builders and developers have made a mess of our city and are the main culprits behind the rain-related woes such as flooding and blocked drains. Seeing the fate of our city, now I can vouch for the city’s existence for not beyond 20 years!!

My Bengaluru is sick and needs a savior to put it back on rails!! I believe I fit the bill to carry Bengaluru forward and regain its past five centuries of glory.

As an elected Mayor of this city founded by Kempegowda and nurtured so well for so long, I pledge to make our city ‘Bengalurean’s Pride and Neighbour’s Envy’. I will follow a top-down approach in rejuvenating the city. BBMP’s structure will be revamped — defunct sections identified and trimmed or shut. Meetings with corporators to evaluate their performance, by setting parameters like knowledge of their ward, length of tarred roads, non-tarred roads, potholes, status of storm water drains, problem areas, greenery, presence of parks, safety and maintenance of parks, gardens, children’s play areas, total population, their education, gender, children, government and private-run hospitals and eateries, volume of garbage generated, high-rises and more.

Evaluation of the work carried out in wards will happen through discussions. Each day in a week will be allotted for discussing one category. Monthly inspections will be carried out either by the Mayor or her deputy. Reports will be compiled along with pictures of the work undertaken.

International standards in waste management

For maintaining cleanliness, ratio of total population to the volume of garbage generated will be evaluated and compared with international standards. If the ratio is adverse, reasons behind that will be identified and corrective actions will be taken. Experts in the field will be involved in policy-making. Employees will be trained to handle these issues independently. A solid system easily scalable in future would be put in place.

Dell’s direct-to-customer model will be followed with customisation. As the needs of the wards will be different, same set pattern cannot be applied across the wards. A time frame will be strictly followed, since my term will be for a year. Also, I would appeal for extension of Mayoral term to two years. This will give the Mayor time to evaluate the projects. The officials undertaking projects will be obliged to meet deadlines and be answerable to the Mayor for longer time.

Fact file of all the corporators in terms of their responsibilities toward their community will be published in the newspapers for public to see. Major problems like encroachments, leading to flooding during rainy seasons will be dealt with, with no fear or favour in demolishing the structure. Action against the former authorities that caused the present misery will be a deterrent to incumbents.

Corporators will be responsible for the greenery in their wards. They have to give statistics of the trees, both healthy and dying trees. Trees that need cutting will be relocated with expert consultation. A fully grown tree is worth 5 crores in terms of its oxygen output, getting rain, shade, aesthetics, cleaning the atmosphere, health of the community, raising the water table, home for beautiful chirping birds, etc. I am pained to see steel and concrete replacing them over decades in the name of unscientific road widening.

Regarding licensing, tenders and revenue collection, forms and payments will be digitised and made online. System will be streamlined with time frame for issuing documents after proper scrutiny. If any citizen is harassed by any official, action will be taken just like traffic-related punitive actions, with fines and cancelling licenses, etc. In BBMP departments, holding off increments and demoting or transferring people elsewhere or even dismissing depending on violations will work fine. Process will be put in place for maintaining transparency, competitiveness, efficiency, quality and time-bound completion of works even after my term as Mayor. My incumbent will have tough time meddling with the system.

A chain of good governance with good officials gives freedom with responsibilities. I will try to achieve most, do my best for my beloved city by being a Mayor at war with the corrupt, inefficient, incompetent within and without who rip our assets.

The Mayor of one city in a country at war with evil forces caught my attention. He is Brita Hagi Hasan, Mayor of Aleppo, a saviour for the citizens facing extermination. He fixes roads, water, electricity each time it is destroyed, maintains a record of all the people dead or alive, houses damaged or intact — all this, under continuous attacks from evil forces. War or peace, Hagi is an oasis in the Syrian desert. He will be my beacon light in my quest for Mayorship.

Vijayalakshmi Krishnarao is an IT professional with scientific research background, living in Kodigehalli area. This is one of the shortlisted entries in ‘If I were the Bengaluru Mayor’ contest launched by Citizen Matters in September 2017.

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