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Public Workshop on ‘People’s Perspectives on Urban Governance and Planning’ [Sep. 4th, 2009|12:22 am]
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[vinay_ks]

 Dear friends,
 
This is to invite your organisation to participate in a Public Workshop on ‘People’s Perspectives on Urban Governance and Planning’ on Saturday,5th September, 2009 in Bangalore. It will be held at the Instituion of Engineers(opp. Indian Express Office), between 9.30am and 4.30pm.
 
Bangalore has had a host of urban governance problems and issues due to which the quality of life of a majority of Bangaloreans has been severely affected. 
 
We have not had elections to the BBMP for 3 years. A group of administrators who are not accountable to the citizens have been framing policies and taking decisions on Bangalore people’s development needs for the past three years. Lack of coordinated planning has been one of the causes for Bangalore's many ills. We have the BBMP and para-statals like BDA, BMRDA, KUIDFC, all creating plans for Bangalore. To remedy this scenario, the 74th Amendment of the Constitution (Nagarapalika Act) calls for establishment of a Metropolitan Planning Committee (MPC) with elected representatives as 2/3rds of its members. The MPC is mandated to be the main planning agency for the metropolitan area. However, instead of setting up the MPC as per constitutional norms, the government set up a non-statutory body like ABIDe which further worsens the problem.
 
The workshop will discuss these issues, their impact on Bangalore and also how we, the urban majority consisting of the urban poor, the middle class, RWAs, civil society can work together to remedy the situation.
Please contact us on 92431 94979 for any queries.


 




Session Plan


Registration 9.30am – 10.00am


1 Overview of Urban Governance - 10.00am – 11.30am

- Key Features of 74th Constitutional Amendment

- Current Scenario


Tea 11.30am – 11.45am


2 Urban Poor's Perspective on Governance 11.45am – 12.45pm


Lunch 12.45pm – 1.45pm


3 Current Governance Proposals Before the Government - 1.45pm – 2.45pm

- Kasturirangan Committee Report

- ABIDe Bengaluru Governance Bill


Tea 2.45pm – 3.00pm


4 Challenges to Democratic Governance - 3.00pm – 4.00pm

- Peoples Rights on Urban Housing and Other Issues

- Corporate Induced Urban Governance


5 Next Steps, Resolution and Summary 4.00pm – 4.30pm





 
 
Citizens action Forum (CAF), The Concerned for Working Children, Environment Support Group (ESG), Grahak Shakti, Hasiru Usiru, Institution of Engineers, Slum Jagattu and a few concerned individuals and organisations committed to democratising decision making and planning in Bangalore are organising a public workshop on ' People's Perspectives on Urban Governance and Planning' on Saturday 5th September, 2009 in Bangalore.
 
The workshop / consultation will discuss the possible negative impact on Bangalore due to non-implementation of the 74th Amendment to the Indian Constitution. In addition, the consultation will also critically examine the short-term and long-term implications of the formation of private governing agencies like ABIDe (Agenda for Bengaluru Infrastructure and Development Task Force). This public workshop will have representation from the urban majority public- middle class and urban poor, Resident Welfare Associations (RWAs), community sanghas, yuvaka sanghas, NGOs, trade unions, professional associations, poets, writers, artistes, playwrights, journalists, and others.
 
Bangalore has not had an elected municipal government for the last three years. A group of administrators who are not accountable to the citizens have been framing policies and taking decisions on Bangalore people’s development needs for the past three years. Worsening this situation many fold is the latest body to usurp for itself the powers to decide about Bangalore – ABIDe. Set-up under a Government Order in 2008 and tasked by the Chief Minister of Karnataka, with the aim of re-inventing Bangalore, a small group consisting mostly of corporate honchos is working at a furious pace to make Bangalore a 'developed' city. ABIDe is not accountable to the public nor to any particular department of the government but has begun to direct and influence the policies and the decisions of the government. For instance, in the recent BBMP budget (‘09-‘10) 1500 crores, around 30% of the budget has been set aside for roads, and most of this money for making 10 major roads signal-free, under the direction of ABIDe. While Bangalore is still struggling to help its citizens attain basic rights of clean water and shelter, it is highly unjust to spend a huge chunk of the budget on a few select roads.
 
Lack of coordinated planning has been one of the causes for Bangalore's many ills. We have the BBMP and para-statals like BDA, BMRDA, KUIDFC, all creating plans for Bangalore. To remedy this scenario, the 74th Amendment of the Constitution (Nagarapalika Act) calls for establishment of a Metropolitan Planning Committee (MPC) with elected representatives as 2/3rds of its members. The MPC is mandated to be the main planning agency for the metropolitan area. However, instead of setting up the MPC as per constitutional norms, the government set up a non-statutory body like ABIDe which further worsens the problem. While the government is free to appoint committees to seek advice, the suggestions and advice provided by these committees need to be reviewed by elected representatives. With ABIDe this crucial part of the process where elected representatives review suggestions of any committee is getting missed out. This is resulting in a situation where some people (committee members of ABIDe) get to decide for the whole of the city on the goals and objectives of the city's development. This is killing the rights of ordinary people to decide on the future of a city in which we live.
 
For instance, the Urban Poor Committee in ABIDe has created its plans in highly non-transparent manner, with the mandate for planning for such a huge group of people being vested to two NGOs. During the course of the process, a few other NGOs and groups have been nominated to come on board the Urban Poor Committee, and this form of co-option of NGOs is problematic.

The urban middle class has shown that it is ready to partner in the city's development responsibly, by forming RWAs and trying to engage with the government. However bodies like ABIDe that first make plans and then throw it open for consultations (without mentioning whether inputs will be accepted) show that they have no respect for rights to public consultation and participation in the planning of the city. While many of the newly added areas under the BBMP still struggle to get basic amenities like roads and clean regular water, bodies like ABIDe are busy clearing projects like the high speed rail link which will cost the city a whopping Rs.6000 crores.
 
All these years, while the governance of Bangalore has been moving away from the people and is getting corporate oriented and friendly to the rich, we have almost been spectators. Continuing to remain silent will mean signing away our rights to participate in our city’s development.
 
It is time that all of us - the disadvantaged, the urban middle class, RWAs and civil society organizations who constitute the urban majority put together a united front and demand our rightful say in the governance of Bangalore. The consultation is aimed at holistically discussing the above issues and charting out a course of action to ensure that governance comes to the hands of the people of Bangalore and works to ensure social justice, equality and a good quality of life for all the people of Bangalore. This consultation will be the first in a series of steps to unite the people of Bangalore in seeking the full implementation of the 74th Amendment to the Indian Constitution.
 

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