Thursday, 23 July 2015


Government of Karnataka feels that by bifurcating City Corporation of Bangalore (BBMP), the urban governance problem may be solved. Earlier, the proposal was discussed in the BBMP Council meeting held on 29th July 2013. It was argued that opinion of the elected representatives should be considered on the Bifurcation of Bangalore. The proposal has once again come up for consideration.

The proposal is being reviewed and comments against /for are being offered by the leaders, experts, and the public. Implications of the Bifurcation proposed are presented in this article. 

The first local body for Bangalore was created on 27-3-1862 during the British administration to provide/maintain civic services, and to develop the City. Its jurisdiction was excluding the Cantonment area existing on the north of the Municipal area. The Cantonment area was serving the civic needs of the Defense Department of the British as well as their administrative establishment. Later, a Cantonment Board was established on 1-8-1862 to govern the Cantonment area. These two local bodies continued till 8-4-1949 when the Bangalore City Municipal Corporation was constituted amalgamating the city and cantonment areas. The intention of amalgamation was to merge the two parts of the City artificially created by the British in spite of contiguous built up area of the City and dependant on each other for urban functions. The intention was also to avoid co-ordination problems in infrastructure maintenance and development. Urban governance by Bangalore City Corporation and later, as Bangalore Mahanagar Palike (BMP) was satisfactory. 

The proposal of Government in constituting seven city municipal councils and one Town municipal council around the City to control the developments in the areas all round the city failed as the standard of governance of these smaller local bodies were like bigger village panchayats. These local bodies were not able to control the unauthorized developments. They sanctioned developments violating the Master plan provisions and the building bye-laws. No developments for improvement were carried out and they were not able to maintain civic services. As the purpose of forming the local bodies was not served , they were abolished by Government and amalgamated with the BMP to form the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagar Palike ( BBMP) in the year 2007.The jurisdiction was also increased to 825 sq. kms With 197 wards. This was the second amalgamation of local bodies in the City. The first was in 1949 when the City Municipality and the Cantonment Board were amalgamated. 

The City is undergoing very rapid growth due to migration after the introduction of Information Technology activities and enabled services, location of multi-national companies and number of engineering and medical colleges, busy International Airport, hotel facilities serving all income groups, etc. The city’s population increased to 95.88 lakh according to the Census of India-2011. BBMP failed to tackle the serious problems of the City. Garbage every where, pot holes on all roads, bad condition of foot paths, too many un-authorised constructions, land use violations, poor living conditions, etc resulted in Government proposing Bifurcation of the City. 

There is no firm policy in Government about urban governance. Amalgamation and bifurcation again and again is continuing in spite of the experience so far on such proposals. Bifurcation again will create confusion in the citizens, agencies, and the Government. The serious civic problems in the City are only due to bad governance. Proper governance will definitely solve the problems. Delegation of powers to efficient officials, fixing responsibilities and accountability on the officers , review of performances of administration work, non-interference by the vested interests in the day to day functioning of the civic body, transparency, considering good suggestions of citizens organizations and the public, curbing further growth of Bangalore, encouraging growth of counter-magnets like; Mysore, Hubli-Dharwad, Mangalore, Belgaum, Gulbarga, etc, are some of the the aspects to be considered for good governance. 

· BBMP will have to be downgraded as BMP. 
· Bifurcation will affect the ward boundaries, Legislative Assembly, and Parliamentary constituencies.
· Services, utilities, and facilities cannot be made independent for each subdivided portion. Total system will have to continue.
· Infrastructure projects under progress will be affected due to bifurcation by way of transfer of funds, repayment of loans to financing agencies, etc.
· One sub-division will have less civic amenities than the other sub-division.
· Private sector companies already involved with BBMP in some service will have to enter into separate agreements/entrustments with the bifurcated authority. They will have to deal with two agencies after bifurcation. 
· Revised Jurisdiction of agencies like; BWSSB, BESCOM, and government departments dealing with Bangalore City’s work, will lead to confusion and complicate their functions. 
· If a foreign company is selected by one subdivided authority to collect and recycle the City’s garbage, and if the other subdivided authority selects a separate company, then there will be conflicts and co-ordination problems.
· Staff strength of two bifurcated units will increase establishment expenditure. 
· Tools and plants for each subdivided authority will increase the expenditure.
· Records of BBMP and the civic agencies will have to be distributed according to the bifurcation.
· Urban statistics due to bifurcation will complicate the studies/ surveys including the Census figures. 
· Bifurcation will create co-ordination problems. The officials of one sub-division will blame the officials of the other subdivision for failure in maintenance of civic services.
· The confusion due to the process of re-organisation will continue for more than one year, and solutions to the civic problems will be postponed. 

Bifurcation of the City will be artificial and it will be practically working as one City. Government may therefore stop their confusing strategy to bifurcate and amalgamate after some time, and organize urban governance for effective maintenance of the City service.

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