Objection to 2/Mar/2020 Bengaluru BBMP Draft Ward Delimitation Notification

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HISTORY AND BACKGROUND

Bengaluru is perhaps the only city with over a crore of population, approx. 750sqkm but managed by a single corporation. Today’s BBMP is a consolidation of 7 City Municipal Councils, 1 Town Municipal Council and 110 villages and is ever growing both in population and size. A BBMP restructuring expert committee was formed headed by Mr.B.S. Patil with a sole goal of “giving better quality of life for citizens”. The committee submitted its findings a few years back and just like any other committee, the report may not be perfect but the committee based the recommendation basis the most scientific analysis or approach. This involved interviewing thousands of people, RWAs, Government officials, agencies to identify issues and possible solutions. The principle approach of power devolution and multi-tier approach of governance and administration called out by B.S Patil committee is fair considering they took the best practices and learnings from larger cities of London, New York, Delhi. They did recommend a good diversification of regional planning through the Metropolitan Planning Committee under which a first level Greater Bengaluru Authority led by Mayor assisted at mid-tier by five municipal corporations with Chairman who are accountable to the third tier governance at ward level. In addition, there were many recommendations and an important one was a City Finance Commission to ensure parity among the different corporations based on their own resources and development needs to ensure accountability and empowerment at local level. 

The biggest of this recommendation was devolution of powers to ward and delivering local governance. It noted that over “half the population” on the outskirts of Bengaluru were neglected, the 110 villages languished in even basic sanitary and water facilities. In order to address these issues and deliver on local governance issues, the suggestion was to form 400 wards from the current 198 wards and deliver basic services.

ISSUE WITH DRAFT WARD DELIMITATION REFER # UDD 53 MLR 2014, DATED 2ND MARCH 2020

On 2nd March 2020, a notification from Government on draft ward delimitation continues to ignore some of the basic principles of governance, administration and current issues highlighted by this expert committee in direct violation of 74th Constitutional Amendment Act (CAA). Ideally, we need five corporations including a separate Mahadevapura Corporation. In order to ensure “equitable allocation” of resources both in terms of manpower and funds, it is important to streamline by making “equitable” wards i.e. 400 wards. However, the 2nd March 2020 draft ward delimitation is flawed and invalid for Year 2020 as the census population used from 2011 doesn’t enable “equitable” allocation of funds and resources. There are various criteria as stipulated in 74th CAA, 243Q  clause contributing to the complexity of areas like Mahadevapura assembly zone as given below.

A.   The 2011 census population shows 431,000 as the Mahadevapura population while the 2018-19 voter count in the Assembly election was 524639. This shows we have over 20% electoral voters alone, forget the actual population that's much higher.

B. Even Election commission’s data on electoral eligible voters below suggests drastic surge in outer region of Mahadevapura in terms of growth in population.

a. Shivajinagar : 184222(BBMP 2011)167309 (EC 2013) vs 191594(EC-2018-19), a growth of 4%

b. BTM Layout : 318678(BBMP 2011)vs  206974(EC 2013) vs 269758(EC 2018-19), a de-growth of 15%

c. Jayanagar :229088(BBMP 2011) vs 170907 (EC 2013) vs 204904(EC 2018-19), a de-growth of 11%

d. Mahadevapura : 247540(BBMP 2011) vs 368393(2013) vs 524639(2018-19), a growth of 112%

Even if we go by Election commission thumb rule estimate of 70% being registered voters, the population crosses 7,50,000 as of 2018-2019. This is consistent with the 2011-2019 growth seen and 2001-2011 census growth observed for outer areas.

C. In case of Mahadevapura, the zone is 115sqkm distributed amongst Hoodi(54), Garudachaarpalya(82), Kadugodi(83), Hagaduru(84), Doddanekundi(85) ,Marathahalli(86),Varthur(149), Bellandur(150) with an average of 14sqkms per ward. However, wards like Dasarahalli, JP Garden, Lingarajapura, Kushaal Nagar and over 16 wards from Ward No 15 through 20, 22,23,28,30,31,32,46,47,48,49,64 had average of less than 1 SqKm. This means the entire ward delimitation approach is completely unscientific. Though some rationalization is done in latest notification, it is not scientific by a long way.

D. Mahadevapura consistently is one of the highest tax paying zones in Bengaluru given its demography and the economic IT Hub status. 1072 crore INR between 2015 to 2018-19 as per BBMP statistics. Over a million IT Employees work in the zone basis one of unofficial estimates.

E.  14 of the 31 IT Special Economic Zones in Bengaluru are in Mahadevapura alone, 7 of them in a ward of Bellandur that’s over 26.5 sq km. 

In the revised draft compilation notified on 2nd March 2020, we do not see either population or area or any of above factors considered for equitable distribution of resources and growth. Instead of providing a separate Mahadevapura corporation and adding more wards, the new draft proposes to keep the ward count to 198 with redistribution of ward basis 2011 census which is non scientific. Due to this we will be denied the basic administrative and governance just because we dont want to use latest verified scientific data instead use legacy data from the 2011 census. This is a wilful denial to comply on the aims of 74th CAA.

PETITION ON WARD DELIMITATION

Through this petition, we raise our objection to the draft delimitation proposed and seek your office intervention to revise the ward delimitation basis latest validated data of population and consider a scientific approach to publish ward delimitation. We submit below enough data and pragmatic issues with the current notification by the Government.

1. Considering the 2018-19 Electoral voter enrolment or other validated avenues of data from agencies like BBMP Health & Solid waste management Department, just in Mahadevapura the lower base of population is 7,50,000. Basis revised ward delimitation, population range of 42000-45000 per ward was considered to arrive at 10 wards for Mahadevapura. In reality, even by these standards basis current population it should have been 16 to 18 wards i.e. 1.75 to 2X the notified wards.

2. Please review the BBMP Restructuring expert committee report headed by BS Patil. They highlight the growth of outer regions like Mahadevapura citing “During 2001-11 the inner core grew by about 18%, the outer periphery grew by over 100%.”. They go on to report that the 110 villages added to BBMP still languish without basic amenities like underground sewerage, drainage and piped water. Of this 110 villages, approximately 31 villages are in Mahadevapura alone. This was the reason the committee clearly articulated the need to constitute 400 wards against the current 198 wards which is being ignored.

3. The Government of the day is taking an easy way out using the 2011 census since 74th CAA empowers the State Government to stipulate the territorial composition. 

a. The 74th CAA under 243Q articulates the five criteria like population, area, revenue generated, percentage of employment in non-agricultural activities, economic importance.
b. If you notice the precursor to the 74th CAA i.e. 65th Amendment it even had called out a Municipal corporation to be constituted for a population of 3 lakh and beyond.
Refer #A through #E from previous section, basis which we can infer the Government of the day is denying the 74th CAA in its spirit by this act of not considering the latest population data, revenue generated by Mahadevapura(one of highest in Bengaluru), area of 115 Sqkm, home to 14 of 31 Special economic IT Zones in Bengaluru and employment to lakhs of jobs from IT Sector.

5. 74th CAA,  243P Clause (C) states that a population of 10 lakh constitutes a metropolitan area. Mahadevapura constituency is reaching this limit. We do see pragmatic challenges to form a Mahadevapura Corporation immediately given wider reforms needed. Hence a progressive first step on delimitation of wards basis scientific approach as detailed above would help.

We hope, our objection will be considered and the needful is done. Thanks in anticipation.