The citizens’ movement CfB (Citizens for Bengaluru) has launched the first ‘Namma Samithi Puraskara’ or ‘Corporator No 1 Awards’. The award will honour ward councillors who have done the best work in their wards, and have engaged citizens through ward committee meetings.
At a press conference yesterday, CfB announced that the awards will be presented at the Town Hall on July 14th, 10.30 am. Justice Santosh Hegde will participate in the ceremony.
Corporators will be selected for the awards based on inputs from citizens themselves. You can rate your corporator at citizensforbengaluru.in. This page has a form to gather information about the facilities in your ward, and more prominently, about ward committee meetings.
The form is available in both Kannada and English to ensure maximum citizens participate in the survey. Additionally, CfB volunteers will collect data from ground surveys around their wards.
The survey is mainly aimed at identifying wards where ward committee meetings are being held with a spirit of citizen participation.
Ward committees were constituted under the 74th constitutional amendment that assures equal representation in governance for all sections of society. They are powerful tools for local self-governance, ensuring active citizen participation and holding civic agencies and functionaries accountable.
CfB had a major role in BBMP passing a resolution last October to hold mandatory ward committee meetings on the first Saturday of every month. Since last December, monthly ward committee meetings are being held.
Officials from BBMP, BESCOM, BWSSB and even Traffic Police participate and interact with citizens in these meetings. There have been 400-500 ward committee meetings so far, unprecedented in the grassroots participative democracy in Bengaluru.
The awards are a follow-up to CfB’s efforts to empower ward committees. “Ward Committees have the potential to completely change how our city is governed. We already saw great signs of this in many wards though we have a long way to go. As responsible citizens, we must take the time to celebrate the good work. This is why CfB is launching the awards,” CfB member Srinivas Alavilli said, at the press conference. He further requested all citizens to participate in the survey, and to attend the award ceremony on July 14th.
Tara Krishnaswamy of CfB said, “The link between people’s satisfaction and councillor performance is woefully absent; these people’s choice awards serve to establish that. Our objective is that councillors who have been systematically engaging citizen’s participation through ward committees, as mandated by law, be recognised for their efforts.”
At the award ceremony, civic leader Prakash Belawadi, Teju Belawadi and their team will perform a special skit on ward committees, as a tribute to Girish Karnad.[This article is based on a press released from CfB. Ekta Sawant also contributed to this article]