Days after the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) Council approved the constitution of ward committees (WC) in all the 198 wards, D.J. Halli councillor R. Sampathraj got Mayor D. Venkatesh Murthy to distribute custom-made identity cards to the WC members he had chosen for his ward.
Though the amendment to the Karnataka Municipal Corporations Act, 1976, does not warrant issue of identity cards to the members, the Mayor obliged the councillor.
“The identity card would help our members gain access to various offices, including BWSSB, Bescom and hospitals, so that we can help the residents of our wards,” he pointed out.
Mr. Sampathraj, who heads a 10-member committee, said he had received “oral public consent” from the residents of the area on the selection of the committee members.
When asked how the committee members were chosen, he told The Hindu that they were “unanimously” accepted by the residents of the ward. “Due to time constraints, I was unable to give advertisements in the newspaper to choose the members. If there was enough time, I would have selected the members in a democratic way after garnering votes from each resident of the ward.”
Mr. Sampathraj said that the WC would focus on undertaking developmental activities, address health and sanitation issues and look into garbage disposal pertaining to the ward.
“Our WC comprises mainly of slum-dwellers, so we have chosen members carefully as there is a need to have a dialogue with the slum-dwellers,” he said.
He added that the members would meet once a week to discuss issues on priority basis.
Citizens’ groups wary
Meanwhile, that citizens’ groups have expressed apprehension over the “undemocratic” selection of the WC members given that the councillors have been vested with that responsibility.