On the periphery of growth

On the periphery of growth

Languishing for decades on the periphery of the City, residents in the limits of seven City Municipal Councils (CMC) and one Town Municipal Council (TMC) hoped for speedy development once they were integrated into the erstwhile Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BMP). But five years after the formation of the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), these areas are still on the periphery of growth. 

Grossly inadequate drinking water supply, absolute lack of underground drainage, haphazard garbage disposal mechanisms... Acute civic issues such as these abound, and in most areas, there are no solutions anywhere in sight.

BBMP has a reason to escape blame. After the BMP’s expansion to BBMP, the number of staff and resources weren’t increased. Highly placed Palike sources say the BBMP’s resources have seen a steady depletion over the last five years. They cite the demands from MLAs from the newly added “underdeveloped” areas of the Palike.

Many in the Palike now see the expansion as the Government’s biggest mistake. According to them, the expansion has been little more than a money-spinning exercise. “While under the CMC they would get approval for projects worth Rs 20 lakh, under the BBMP, the same public representatives seem to demand nearly Rs 12 crore. But for what?” question the Palike officers, preferring anonymity.

The expansion of the Palike jurisdiction, it is learnt, was the fallout of hectic
lobbying by MLAs of the outlying areas in 2006 when the State was ruled by a coalition government. The efforts paid dividends to the MLAs when the Kumaraswamy Government announced the expansion.

But the BBMP did not see the light of day for nearly four years after its formation. The fall of the coalition government and the rise of the BJP pushed the Palike into the hands of bureaucratic administration. The period saw heavy losses for the BBMP with massive projects being announced for the newly-added areas but none being delivered. So much so, under the administrative rule in 2008-09, no development projects were approved in five Assembly constituencies which fell under the erstwhile CMC areas.  After the 2010 elections, the BBMP received its first batch of newly-elected corporators. But at what cost? Sources say the burden on BBMP hasn’t eased because obstacles are created deliberately for a smooth and transparent system of providing civic amenities to  citizens.

“Most CMC areas have refused to allow BBMP officers to work for the welfare of the people. Most officers in the outlying areas, including the topbrass belong to the CMC era, and they have refused to allow our people to scrutinise their records,” says a Palike officer. Palike insiders are convinced that there could be massive scams at the expense of the BBMP in the erstwhile CMCs and TMC.

Even the BBMP top brass believe that the local corporators and officials in the area are hand-in-glove, looting public money with little development projects undertaken in these areas. “While some of the elected representatives work hard,  several others are there just  to suck the funds out of the Palike,” said sources.

Yet, there are many who see BBMP as a potential saviour from decades of neglect.

For instance, the reach of the BBMP has enabled the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) and the BESCOM to work in tandem. Although slow, the emergence of new roads, sewerage connections and intermittent electricity supply have brought a ray of hope.

BWSSB’s challenges

For the BWSSB, the new areas are hugely challenging in terms of ensuring water supply and sanitation facilities. Although work to lay pipelines was taken up under the Greater Bangalore Water Supply Project (GBWSP) in 2004-05, supply is expected only after the Cauvery IV stage II phase commences in March 2012. But it could be delayed even further.

Most residents of the new areas have paid the Beneficiary Capital Contribution (BCC) along with other charges to BWSSB. The Board has also started laying underground lines with funds from JnNURM (Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission), KMRP (Karnataka Municipal Reforms Project) and JICA (Japan International Cooperation Agency). The projects are likely to get completed by 2013.

The BWSSB also plans to provide water and sanitation to 110 villages under the old CMC areas. The total area of these villages is 225.22 sq km and an average of 150 LPCD (litres per capita per day) is the estimated consumption of water after Cauvery IV stage II phase commences. The estimated cost of the project is Rs 2,379 crore, with the State Government contributing Rs 178 crore.

The Board has also proposed to collect BCC from future consumers who would build houses on 30X40 sites and above. They will have to contribute on the lines of GBWSP.  

The CMCs and the TMC

* Rajarajeshwarinagar CMC
* Dasarahalli CMC         * Bommanahalli CMC
* KR Puram CMC           * Mahadevapura CMC
* Yelahanka CMC          * Kengeri TMC
* Byatarayanapura CMC

Cost (in Rs) of projects undertaken by BBMP

Constituency    2008-09    2009-10               2010-11
                 (up to April)

Dasarahalli        0    311.90 cr    69.37 cr
K  R Puram        0    96.92 cr        95.32 cr             
Mahadevpura        0    80.41 cr        104.68 cr 
Byatrayanapura        0    87.65 cr        53.79 cr
Yelahanka        0    96.01 cr        39.34 cr
R R Nagar          27.66 cr    236.72 cr    117.9 cr
Hebbal    30.48 cr    89.51 cr        53.50 cr