BBMP division a Tughlaqian step

The move to split the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) into three municipal corporations is unwise and certain to be counterproductive. The Karnataka cabinet has reportedly taken the decision with the claim that the split will ensure better, efficient and effective administration. It is said to be based on the interim report of a committee which is yet to submit its final report. There have been similar proposals from other committees too. These have differed on details. The government seems to have actually taken the decision on its own and the recommendations are only being used as excuses. According to the decision, the city will be divided into Central, East and West segments, with each having its own mayor, commissioner and elected and administrative systems. There is
also a view that more than three corporations may be created in the long run.

It is true that the BBMP is in a bad shape and does not well serve the needs of the citizens. It is steeped in corruption, and is known for inefficiency and indifference.  These problems will not go away with a surgical operation on the city. They are, in fact, bound to aggravate and get compounded by the division. Setting up three corporations means tripling the establishment expenditure in terms of officials and physical infrastructure. The BBMP’s finances are already bad. The three corporations will be in a worse state. Size and population are not the problem with Bangalore. There are projections that the population will keep increasing and there will be new needs and pressures. But the spreading out of the ills and its causes is no solution. Brand Bangalore has developed as a single entity, and this was not because of the BBMP but perhaps in spite of it. Changing the civic structure can hurt the composite needs of the city. Many areas in the city are organically linked to one another. Separating them will hurt its comprehensive development.

The move for division seems to be prompted more by political considerations than a genuine concern. Civic elections are due next month and the government perhaps wants to postpone them, citing the restructuring of the corporation as an excuse. The development of the city and the interests of the people are only hurt by the measure. It is also likely to be a Tughlaqian step. The Delhi municipal corporation was split into three in 2012, but maybe going back to the original state. Governments should not experiment with the life of cities and the welfare of people.

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