If these concerns are not addressed immediately, Bengaluru will seize to be a liveable place: united Bengaluru

First Published 21, Jun 2018, 7:37 PM IST
If these concerns are not addressed immediately, Bengaluru will seize to be a liveable place: united Bengaluru

United Bengaluru, coalition of several citizen groups working for the betterment of Bengaluru, has started a new campaign #BengaluruDemands to improve the conditions of the city by addressing the root causes of the problems faced by Bengaluru.

United Bengaluru, coalition of several citizen groups working for the betterment of Bengaluru, has started a new campaign #BengaluruDemands to improve the conditions of the city by addressing the root causes of the problems faced by Bengaluru.

 The United Bengaluru aims at encouraging the participation of the public and making sure that government does its duty. With this in mind, the United Bengaluru has requested Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy and Deputy CM G Parameshwara to act upon the plea from citizens of Bengaluru.

 Accordingly, 11 concerns of the citizens of the city are addressed here.

1.   Commercialisation of residential areas

The citizens’ demand for peaceful neighbourhoods and their repeated requests to close illegal commercial establishments are being ignored by BBMP officials. This has allowed illegal commercial establishments to flourish in violation of zoning regulations and Town Planning norms. The fallout of this irresponsible growth is witnessed in the form of excessive traffic, noise pollution, increase in crime rate and an overall reduction in the quality of life of citizens. Further, large scale illegal commercialization of residential areas in violation of Zoning Regulations violate the Right to Life enshrined in Article 21 of the Constitution of India, causing pollution, threat to ecology and environment, stress and public inconvenience and lack of peace and comfort. Also, the pubs and bars operating in and around predominantly residential areas beyond the restricted time has raised concerns for safety of women and children.


2.   Infrastructure 

Working in an environment where the basic infrastructure services including power, water, public transport,  are so poor, making them increasingly less competitive, making the city's sustenance itself a question mark. The United Bengaluru has requested the authorities concerned to develop a time-bound action plan with measurable quality of life parameters. 

 3.   Ward Committees and Citizen Participation in Urban Governance

All ward plans and budgets and master plan inputs should be drawn through a bottom-up process of planning through the ward committees consolidated at the zonal and city level. Ward Committees should be empowered to monitor works and conduct social audits. The United Bengaluru has demanded 50% Risk-Weighed Assets (RWA) representation in ward committee.

 4.   Metropolitan Planning Committee and Revised Master Plan 2031

The Revised Master Plan-2031 (RMP-2031) designed by the BDA is a land use plan to allegedly help the corrupt builders profit from the change in land use pattern. Similarly, as per the 74th Amendment of the Indian Constitution it is the Metropolitan Planning Committee (MPC) and not the BDA should draft the RMP-2031. BDA has no role in drafting the RMP.  Also, constituting any advisory group by passing the MPC will be a violation of Constitution provisions as has been observed by the High Court resulting in the withdrawal of the ‘Bangalore Vision Group’, which was formed by the previous Government to bypass the MPC which is constitutionally mandated for city planning. The election manifesto, promises abolition of the Urban Development Bodies and transfer their functions to the MPC as per 74th Constitutional Amendment.

5.   Solid Waste Management (Garbage)

Bengaluru’s garbage crisis persists despite the previous Government allocating Rs 3000 crore on Solid Waste Management (SWM). Improper disposal of waste is leading to fatal diseases especially among the poor and vulnerable, taking away the 'right to life' guaranteed under Article 21 of Constitution. The United Bengaluru has alleged that the BBMP has in the past misused funds allocated for SWM, by paying an additional Rs 400 crore to garbage contractors. 

6.   Failure of KCDC plants, need for wet garbage units across Bengaluru

The Karnataka Compost Development Corporation (KCDC) plants across Bengaluru have become a failure due to inefficient processing and dumping of Refuse Derived Fuel (RDF). It is also alleged that the KCDC Plant in HSR Layout has been constructed by encroaching SS Palya Lake. Improper processing of waste and pollution of the adjoining SS Palya Lake and Sompura Lake by KCDC plants has forced people to live with stench amidst pollution. Hence the plant should be shut down immediately and wet garbage processing units should be set up in every ward as per High Court order.

7.   Integrated management of water system and revival of lakes in Bengaluru

In the last few decades there is a rise in incidents of encroachment and destruction of the lakes. As per the Legislative House Committee Report, up to 10,473 acres of lake land has been encroached upon in Bengaluru. Pollution is leading to contamination of ground water and thereby creating a public health crisis. The water-tanker mafia is selling contaminated water and putting lives of citizens at risk. The recent amendment to the Karnataka Tank Conservation and Development Authority (KTDCA) Act is a disaster to lakes as it allows construction of roads and bridges on the lake bed if the water carrying capacity is not reduced. This amendment violates the May 4, 2016 National Green Tribunal (NGT) order on the buffer zone, which needs to be implemented.  

8.   Bannerghatta Eco-Sensitive Zone

The Supreme Court on December 12, 2006 directed the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change to notify Eco-Sensitive Zones (ESZ) around all National Parks and Sanctuaries. The order clearly states that the areas within 10km of the boundaries of the national parks and sanctuaries should be notified as Eco Sensitive Zone. The State by allowing stone quarrying activities in the deemed ESZ and elephant habitat or corridor has failed to implement the order, alleges united Bengaluru. There was also an attempt by vested interests to shrink the ESZ from 268.96 sq km to 181.57 km in violation of the SC order. The draft notification issued on June 15, 2016 has expired and a renewed notification needs to be issued.


9.   Real Estate Regulatory Authority (RERA)

The real estate sector has largely been unregulated from the perspective of consumer protection. Central Government has enacted the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act 2016 and all the sections of the Act have come into force with effect from May 1, 2017. Karnataka cleared the RERA in July 2017 and has excluded projects that are completed 60% sale deed and more. However, the Central Government RERA Rules include all the projects that have not been received OC/CC as on May 1, 2017 and Karnataka has put in place only Interim Regulatory Authority and Interim Appellate Tribunal.

Here are some steps to protect the prospective home buyers through RERA, proposed by the United Bengaluru: 

A permanent Regulatory Authority (consisting of a chairperson and not less than two full-time members who shall have 25 years and 15 years’ experience in urban development) and a permanent Appellate Tribunal (consisting of a chairperson and not less than 2 members who shall be judicial members) to be in place and the selection should happen by forming a selection committee as suggested in the Central Government Draft RERA Rules and Act.

·         Constitute a conciliation committee on the lines of the committee in Maharashtra, comprising equal representation of the stakeholders of the real estate industry, RWAs, activists, builders, agents, legal experts, NGOs, media.

·         Repeal the diluted RERA Rules and amend to be in line with that of the Centre, draft RERA rules.

·         Amend the Karnataka Apartment Ownership Act 1972 to sync with RERA and deferring from allowing registration of Apartment Owners Associations to register their associations under The Karnataka Societies Registration Act, 1960.

·         To prevent registration of properties which are not complying with the RERA rules. 

10. Women and Children’s Safety

From 2013 to 2016, Bengaluru saw a 25% rise in crimes against women. What is worse, in 2016, 57 incidents of dowry deaths and 674 incidents of kidnapping and abduction made Bengaluru the third most dangerous metro for women. The city reported close to 400 cases of chain snatching in 2017 as against 255 in 2016. In about 85% of cases of child sexual harassment, the accused is a family member or a relative of the child. The government must immediately prioritise safety measures for women and children.

 11.  Mobility

 Proper planning to integrate the various modes of transport will reduce traffic congestion to a considerable extent and this can only be achieved by taking the following measures:

·         Greater collaboration between the State and Central governments for the implementation of suburban railways. Bengaluru should emulate Mumbai’s suburban rail network and integrate the rail system into the city’s commuter system.

·         Government should strengthen BMTC services by rationalising routes and making the service frequent and reliable.

·         Government should encourage more private players who can provide effective services.

·         Speed up Metro construction and add more coaches to existing metro lines. Additionally, there should be seamless integration of different modes of transportation.