2010: The year that was not

As we go into Citizen Matters’ special list of developments for the year that was for Bengaluru, how about the year that was not?

But before that, some context: Bengaluru is touted as global powerhouse in the West for its IT-prowess! US President Obama often raises the spectre of Bangaloreans stealing American jobs. A top American columnist even warned US children to pay attention to their studies or else Bangalore’s students would take their jobs of the future. Such is the fear Bangalore evokes in the West.

Still, look at the inside picture. Some important events never happened in 2010, that should have.

* Bengaluru did not get a mayor with expanded executive powers. Our worshipful mayor remains a mere convenor of the council. He cannot really do much else for the city.

* Bengaluru did not get a mayor with a 5-year term. The mayor has a one-year term, when underpasses themselves take 1 1/2 to two years! Our mayor cannot even oversee the finishing of a road project before he is gone.

* All planning power for the Bangalore region did not move into into a Metropolitan Committee (as mandated by the Consitution) consisting of elected representatives from the city and urban area panchayats, instead of BDA. The committee itself has not been formed!

* Citizens have not been elected or nominated into ward committees, even though city elections happened in March 2010.

To bring these measures into force, a reform legislation has been lying at the state cabinet for over a year. Instead, what we got was this: cabinet ministers are deciding whether an underground parking lot should be built in a city park instead, with the elected city council not being anywhere in the picture. The mayor is silent.
So there you have it. Top, feared, city around the world, and a ‘chicken’ of a city government back home. ⊕

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