The Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) passed a resolution in its Council meeting on Wednesday, January 28th, 2015, demanding that the State government extend the term of the Council for six more months, if at all the Karnataka government has plans to postpone the BBMP election.
BJP Councillor Padmanabha Reddy moved a private resolution in the Council expressing his displeasure over the state government trying to postpone the BBMP polls citing Palike restructuring as the reason.
“The term of the present Council ends on April 22nd, 2015. As per the 74th amendment to the Constitution, election should be held to the local body within the stipulated time. Though election is a lengthy process, which demands a lot of preparation, it appears that the government has not made any arrangements for the polls and is trying to postpone the polls due to restructuring process,” he said at the Council meeting.
He said he opposes the idea of bureaucrats taking charge of the corporation after the end of Council’s term, if the election is postponed. “We have seen enough of the bureaucrats’ rule between 2007-2010, in the absence of Council. Officials not only indulged in misappropriation, but also burdened BBMP with a loan to the tune of Rs 10,000 crore. We do not want the same situation to recur,” he added.
The Council which passed the resolution decided to convey to the Chief Minister through the BBMP Commissioner to either hold the election on time or extend the Council’s term. The chief minister has to issue an ordinance to continue the term of the Council. “There have been instances of the government extending the term of rural local body in the past and the same could be done in the BBMP too,” Reddy said.
Amidst the issue of election, the BJP Councillors also questioned the logic behind restructuring the BBMP. They said dividing BBMP is not necessary, and the government is doing it for political advantage.
Congress opposes resolution
While the JD(S) supported the resolution, the Congress members strongly opposed it. Congress opposition party leader Manjunath Reddy criticised the BJP Councilors for moving the resolution in a hurry. The Council can wait for the last Council meeting to pass a resolution, if the government doesn’t start election process by then, he said.
Congress Councillor Chandrasekhar said that the BJP was unnecessarily hurrying on election issue. “In fact, District-in-Charge Minister Ramalinga Reddy has asserted that the election would be held on time. People’s Representative Act too makes provision for conducting election within six months of dissolving the Council. Therefore, there is no need to worry,” he said.
BBMP passes resolution on banning hoardings
In what could be considered as a surprising move, BBMP has passed a resolution to make the entire city hoarding-free. All kinds of outdoor advertisements will be banned if the state government accepts the resolution. Councillors claim that BBMP earns only Rs 21 crore per annum from outdoor advertising.
Ads to be removed from bus stops
In the Council meeting, BBMP Commissioner Lakshminarayana said that the Palike and the BMTC have plans to make bus shelters in the city more people-friendly. He was responding to the demand of ruling party leader N R Ramesh to remove advertisement boards from bus shelters and make provision for display boards indicating bus routes and schedule in bus shelters.
The BBMP Commissioner said that in a recent meeting with BMTC MD, he had pointed out at how the bus shelters have been built in places where the bus doesn’t stop. The MD requested to remove shelters from places where buses do not stop and make shelters where there is a need for it.
“The BMTC has also come forward with a proposal to install display boards informing the bus route number, arrival and departure of buses to help the commuters. To make it possible, the BBMP has to provide half of the bus shelter space, which is now used by advertisers, to the BMTC. We are working on the module before signing a MoU,” the Commissioner said.
E-toilets near BMTC shelters
The Commissioner also confirmed of commissioning e-toilets near some of the bus shelters in the city within a week. If the user charge for e-toilets in Metro railway stations is Rs 3, it will be Rs 1 in BMTC shelters.