Speaking up for citizens

N.S. Mukunda was the founder president of Citizen Action Forum (CAF) from 2008 to 2014.

N.S. Mukunda was the founder president of Citizen Action Forum (CAF) from 2008 to 2014.

This electrical engineer, who was the first graduate in the State to become an electrical contractor in the late 1960s, was also one of the first to take the lead in bringing together all the Residents’ Welfare Associations (RWA) in the city on one platform.

N.S. Mukunda was the founder president of Citizen Action Forum (CAF) from 2008 to 2014. CAF has been at the forefront of many battles on behalf of citizens in the recent past.

The most recent victory of CAF, with Mr. Mukunda as petitioner, has been obtaining a stay order from National Green Tribunal against allotment of Bellandur wetlands for an SEZ, with the developers told to pay a fine of Rs. 142 crore.

However, he considers a seminar held at Ravindra Kalakshetra in 2010, a peak in CAF's activism. The then minister R. Ashoka was forced by popular demand and reasoned argument to announce at the seminar that the government wouldn't hike property taxes in the city.

One of the biggest success of CAF and Mr. Mukunda as a petitioner was their legal challenge to the Akrama Sakrama scheme that has prevented the government from implementing it. “Akrama Sakrama, in essence, discriminates against a law-abiding citizen while favouring violators,” he argues. The case is still being contested in the High Court.

Mr. Mukunda was at his argumentative best at the public consultation meeting called by the BDA regarding CDP-2031. “With the metropolitan planning committee being formed, planning is their prerogative. BDA should desist from carrying out the CDP - 2031,” he argued while leading the protests against BDA.

The man who was instrumental in bringing RWAs to a platform, which he regards as the fifth estate, is today left lamenting that the movement is being eaten up from within. “If they want to work as a pressure group, RWAs should remain apolitical. But sadly, today half of the RWAs have developed political affiliations, weakening the movement from within, from a position of great strength and poise six years ago,” he said adding that efforts are on to pick up the pieces and strengthen the movement again.

Projects he is working on

Holistic water plan to solve shortage in city

Developing a concept of garbage-free wards

Mobilising funds for BBMP

Suggestions to civic agencies

Introduce transparency

Open accounts for auditing by CAG

Work towards truly representative and functional ward committees

Suggestions to Bengalureans

Develop a sense of ownership towards the city

Inculcate civic sense

Participate in the city's issues more openly

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Printable version | Aug 11, 2022 7:42:10 pm |