Area sabhas may become corporators' fiefdoms

Area sabhas may become corporators' fiefdoms

The worst fears of Bangaloreans about the formation of ward committees and area sabhas have come true, as corporators are set to dominate these bodies in the coming days.

The Draft Karnataka Municipal Corporations (Ward Committee and Area Sabha) Rules, 2011, formulated by the State government as part of enforcement of the Karnataka Municipal Corporations (Amendment) Bill, 1976, a copy of which is available with Deccan Herald, empowers only local corporators and BBMP Council, leaving little or no role for citizens.

According to the draft rules, a councillor has to recommend names of area sabha representatives pertaining to his or her ward and even members of each ward committee will be nominated by the Palike Council.

The draft further states that if no recommendation is received within the due date from the councillor, the BBMP Commissioner will recommend the names.

Civic experts said as per the Rules in their present form, the existence of the ward committees and area sabhas would only be namesake.

Kathyayini Chamaraj, Executive Trustee of NGO Civic, said experts had pointed out many loopholes in the Act. However, their views were not considered. She said citizens had little say in these bodies.

When questioned about the problems in the Rules, a senior official from the Urban Development Department said the government would notify the draft rules seeking objections. He said the public could file their objections within 30 days from the date of notification and the same would be considered, while finalising notification of the Rules.

What the draft rules say

* Meeting notice of area sabha signed by the nodal officer - containing date, time, agenda and location of the meeting - shall be communicated through notice board of corporation offices, zonal offices and also on the website of the corporation.
* The meeting venues of all the area sabhas shall be fixed through a common notification by the Commissioner. Polling station premises or any other public buildings are preferable locations. If no public building is available, private buildings can be used. However, no religious building, structure or place shall be used for the purpose.
* On the receipt of recommendation of names from the councillor, the Council shall only verify their eligibility and nominate them as area representatives in the next immediate meeting.

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