Poll or no poll, BBMP at the crossroads

Poll or no poll, BBMP  at the crossroads

The State Election Commission might have scheduled the crucial Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) elections for July 28. But an air of uncertainty hangs over the polls

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Reluctant to hold it on that day, the state government has time till July 8 to challenge a High Court ruling that the polls be held by August 5.

The BBMP Commissioner is expected to notify the elections on July 8. However, the Karnataka Scheduled Caste-Scheduled Tribe Development Corporation is all set to approach the Supreme Court against the reservation of BBMP wards by July 1. If the petition is accepted, the election process may get delayed.

Whatever be the turn of events, it is time for Deccan Herald to take a closer, deeper look at the BBMP’s 198 wards spread across 27 assembly constituencies.

It is time to speak to the citizens directly, ascertain their views on issues that affect their daily lives. The time is just ripe to ask them whether their elected representatives lived up to expectations, and what hopes they harbour for the next five years.

Apparent today is the administrative paralysis in the BBMP due to poor financial condition borne out of large scale corruption and mismanagement. The siphoning of tax-payers' money is evident everywhere, with public works suffering badly. In its last term, the Palike's renowned landmarks were even mortgaged to keep the civic body afloat.

The City is in the throes of an unending garbage menace, earning Bengaluru the dubious distinction of being a Garbage City. The genesis of this problem could be sourced to a scandal linked to fake bills, generated without proper checks and balances.

The City went to dogs, quite literally, due to the poor financial condition. The Palike does not even have money to pay the dues to non-government organisations that were implementing the Animal Birth Control (ABC) programme. With a five lakh stray dog population, the city now sits on a canine bomb. As the existing laws do not permit culling the mutts, sterilisation is the only way to control their population. But the ABC programme is now in limbo due to the pending bills.

For Bengalureans, this has triggered a mountain of problems: Bad roads, ugly pavements, black spots due to garbage accumulation, lack of public toilets resulting in public urination, lakes turning into big septic tanks, encroachment of public land, parks, playgrounds and civic amenity sites, poorly maintained BBMP run schools and colleges.

Add to this the pathetic Palike hospitals, failure to bring major property tax defaulters in the tax net and shops in the ambit of trade licenses, inadequate regulation of mushrooming hotels and roadside eateries, streetlight woes and sewage-filled stormwater drains.

The moot question is: Will a newly elected body heed to the public outcry for a financially disciplined BBMP, quality works and one that is receptive to addressing the Bengalurean’s rising civic woes?

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