Urban experts believe that the city needs to be restructured into multiple corporations, but there is no consensus on the best model or the way forward.
Retired bureaucrat V. Balasubramanian of the Indian Institute of Public Administration, Karnataka regional branch, on Saturday presented an alternate model arguing that overhauling had to be with a regional perspective. He proposed a separate Bengaluru Metropolitan Council (BMC) at the Bengaluru Metropolitan Region (BMR – 8,000 sq.km.) level to govern the city.
Coming down heavily on corruption and systemic malaise in the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), he said that one of the reasons is the ward size. “The entire BMR area can be divided into 400 wards with a population of 50,000 each. Ten wards that add up to 5 lakh population can be constituted into a total of 41 Town Councils, which will elect a chairperson locally, taking the administration closer home,” he said.
He proposed that, at the regional level, the city region should be governed by a BMC led by the chief minister and having chairpersons of 41 Town Councils, all MLAs, MLCs and MPs and nominated urban experts totalling 120 members. All parastatals like Bescom, BWSSB, BDA, BMRCL will have to function under the BMC, he said.
Sudhir Krishnaswamy, co-founder, Centre for Law and Policy Research, took objection to the proposal saying modularity was now considered the best way forward.
V. Ravichandar, former member of BBMP Restructuring Committee, proposed a three-tier governance model, including five corporations. The answer to the governance gaps in Bengaluru lies in more decentralisation empowering the third tier of city governance at the level of ward committees and area sabhas, he said, taking objection to the proposed BMC giving space to MLAs and MPs.
But there was consensus on one plank – all parastatals concerning city administration have to be brought under a unified political control. Chief secretary T.M. Vijay Bhaskar, who inaugurated the symposium, said he is holding an inter-departmental co-ordination meet every 10 days following a High Court order.