Civic triumphs: 500 meetings in just six months

Civic triumphs: 500 meetings in just six months

The Karnataka High Court. DH file photo

For 27 years, the idea of local governance seemed too utopian, until the collective might of citizen activism forced it into the realm of reality.

The ward committees, set up in all 198 city wards following the Karnataka High Court’s order, are making the usually heedless elected representatives to step back and pay attention to the citizen’s concerns.

Activists may have united against the building of steel bridges, but they went beyond protests and thought constructively about solutions to the city’s problems.

But the success of Citizen For Bengaluru (CFB) in getting Karnataka High Court to direct the state government to set up the ward committees has flipped the switch on the dormant machinery.

CFB was flooded with nearly 1,000 nominations from people to be members of the ward committees. Another 250 went directly to the BBMP head office to submit their nominations, forcing the civic body to acknowledge people's power.

It may still be the case that only few wards hold the meetings successfully, but 500 meetings have taken place in the last six months across all wards. Citizens have marked the second Saturdays for the meetings, while local corporators and civic officials turn up regularly to solve the issues.

The Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) and citizens are working hard to achieve the first target of regularising the meetings on the first Saturdays across the wards.

They are sorting out such minor issues as shortage of staff in some wards and also lack of space to hold meetings. The Palike, however, is yet to act on its promise a few months ago that it would train the committee members.

Mayor Gangambike Mallikarjun said the city has achieved 75-80% of success in holding regular ward meetings. She also noted that the outcomes of the meetings are positive, as the civic issues are getting sorted out on time.