12 guidelines have been listed but some of them are not clear

The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Mangalore City Corporation appears to be going slow on adopting a policy on managing grounds in its jurisdiction.

Although the official machinery in the civic body has prepared a draft policy laying down specific guidelines on the issue, it is awaiting the approval of the council.

The draft policy with guidelines has been prepared following a direction to it from the Karnataka High Court in 2009. While hearing a writ petition, the High Court had directed the corporation to frame guidelines on granting permission to use any public ground.

The council section did table the draft policy in the meeting of the council on January 31, 2011.

However, the council led by the BJP referred it to the Standing Committee for Taxation, Finance and Appeals without initiating any debate on it.

Ranganath C.Kini, Chief Whip in the Council, told The Hindu that it was referred to the standing committee as it needed some scrutiny. But even after a month, the standing committee is yet to take stock of it.

Roopa. D. Bangera, the outgoing chairperson of the standing committee for taxation, finance and appeals, told The Hindu on Sunday that the draft policy had not been placed before the committee. Hence it had held no discussions on it, she said.

The draft has listed 12 guidelines. Public grounds could be booked only three months in advance. In case there were many bookings for a given day, the priority should be given to the first applicant. For other applicants, the corporation should give acknowledgements either rejecting their applications or suggesting them other dates.

But in this aspect, the draft policy has left some grey areas. It does not make it clear how it will choose the first applicant. Because it nowhere mentions that an applicant should mention the time of filing the application with the date of filing the application, for bookings.

It is not clear how it will select the first applicant in case of more people filing applications on a particular date (without mentioning the time of filing them) with all wanting a same ground on a given day.

It said the corporation could either have a prescribed format of an application for bookings, clearly specifying the date and time when a particular ground was needed. If not, it should ensure that application filed by applicants on their own clearly specified them.

If applications lacked them, the officials should reject them on the spot and issue acknowledgements to them. Such applicants should not be held over.

It said that the civic body should arrange for drinking water and toilet facilities in identified prominent grounds. The policy said that the civic body should fence the grounds owned by it and display boards to make people know that they were of corporation property.

It should appoint a security person for each such ground and he or she should have the entry key.The policy states that the civic body should maintain and record the land records of all such grounds by obtaining the records from departments concerned.

Keywords: public ground

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