The number of wards in the city is set to increase to 243 from the current 198, but they will be created within the existing 800 sq.km. under the BBMP’s jurisdiction.
The Legislature Joint Select Committee had recently tabled a plan to increase the number of wards to 250, and an amendment to the Karnataka Municipal Corporations Act, 1976, had been cleared.
Committee Chairperson S. Raghu told The Hindu that they decided to increase the number of wards to 243 after ensuring that the average population of each ward is around 35,000. “The exercise was taken up based on the 2011 census and population projection reports. There has been decadal growth, mostly in outer areas of the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP). It is, therefore, in these areas that the number of wards has been increased. Around 35 wards will be added in the five outer zones while the rest will be in the core zones,” he said.
He stated that the committee did not favour inclusion of new areas in the BBMP limits.
The government is likely to constitute a committee to take up the delimitation exercise again, now that the number of wards has been increased. Mr. Raghu said the delimitation committee will be constituted along the lines of the committee in Chennai, Tamil Nadu where the city corporation commissioner is the chairperson.
“It will have four members with the BBMP Commissioner as chairperson. The other members will be Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) commissioner, Deputy Commissioner of Bengaluru Urban district and BBMP’s Special Commissioner (Revenue) as its member secretary. The government order with regard to the constitution of the committee is likely to be issued soon,” he added.
Several urban and civic experts have alleged that the whole exercise was a ruse to put off polls to the BBMP council. The five-year term of the BBMP council ended on September 10.
Mr. Raghu rubbished these allegations and maintained that elections to the civic body will be held by the end of this year, or at the very latest early 2021. “There are legislators belonging to the Congress and the Janata Dal (S) in the Joint Select Committee. Even they are supporting the government in this exercise,” he said.
Lucky number 9
The Joint Select Committee, which has decided to increase the number of wards by 45, has not gone solely by the average population per ward, but also considered ‘numerology’ to arrive at 243.
Joint Select Committee Chairperson S. Raghu told The Hindu that both 198 and 243 added up to 9. Based on population criteria, the number of wards actually came up to 242. However, it was increased to 243 to ensure that the numerals added up to nine, he said.
“The wards were increased to 198 by the previous B.S. Yediyurappa government. Now, a government headed by Mr. Yediyurappa has increased the number to 243,” he added.
Sources said that the number nine is considered auspicious by many. There are several government vehicles, especially those used by various ministers, with registration numbers adding up to nine.