Former councillors bat for more powers to BBMP, ward committees


Issues such as empowering ward committees, devolving more powers to the Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike, increasing the Mayor’s tenure, revenue mobilisation and asset declaration were discussed at an online round table organised by the Janaagraha Centre for Citizenship and Democracy here on Saturday.

Former Mayors M. Goutham Kumar and Gangambike Mallikarjun, former ruling party leaders Padmanabha Reddy and M. Shivaraju, former chairpersons of standing committees and a few councillors spoke.

Mr. Kumar and Ms. Mallikarjun supported the idea of a longer tenure for the Mayor, and said the one-year term was not enough to put their vision to action.

Ms. Mallikarjun and Mr. Reddy stressed the need to empower ward committees, while also batting for more powers for the civic body, as envisaged under Schedule 12 of the Constitution.

Former Opposition leader Abdul Wajid said the lack of coordination among various agencies can be addressed effectively if all are brought under one umbrella.

Mohan Kumar, former chairperson of Standing Committee for Public Works, Mr. Kumar and Mr. Shivaraju said the civic body should focus on revenue mobilisation, apart from declaring assets. Mr. Mohan Kumar said civic body’s property worth ₹5,000 crore needs to be reclaimed. Mr. Shivaraju said civic body had the potential to collect ₹5,000 crore property tax.

Other former councillors who attended the round table included Shilpa Abhilash (New Thippasandra), Hanna Bhuvaneshwari (Maruthi Seva Nagar), Mamatha Vasudev (J.P. Park), Shwetha Vijaykumar (Doddanekkundi), C.R. Lakshminarayan (former chairperson of Standing Committee for Appeals), S.G. Nagaraj (former chairperson of Standing Committee for Town Planning).

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Srikanth Vishwanathan, Janaagraha CEO, said: “Councillors across party lines are focussed on two key aspects – need for greater powers and funds for BBMP councillors, and urgent need for BBMP administration to raise its own revenues through property tax and leveraging its real estate. We must strengthen the hands of our BBMP councillors and work with them as one team to increase powers, functions and funds for BBMP.”

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Sagar Biswas

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