Thurs|April 9 | Forum for Urban Commons and Governance
Forum for Urban Commons and Governance
Join us on the 9th of April at St. Marks Road at 10:00 AM.
Participate in the protest against tender sure with a demand to democratize governance and to build a socially just, inclusive and a safe city for all!
Imagine a few rich people deciding what is good for the society. Can this governance framework be termed “Democracy”? Obviously not. Unfortunately from the time of Bangalore Agenda Task Force (BATF) from 1990s, an elite few in Bangalore are consistently using their wealth, muscle power and global connectedness to bypass elected council in Bangalore to bulldoze their vision of the city as being good for all the residents of city. Current versions of these entities include BPAC, Vision group etc.
The increasing numbers of task forces led by corporate honchos are appropriating governance to suit their needs and business interests. Many a times, these parallel governance bodies bypass the entire elected council at the BBMP and get their plans approved by the state government through unconstitutional means . This total disregard for the people of Bengaluru and for the elected representatives of BBMP by the elite smacks of arrogance worthy of a dictatorial regime.
The ongoing Tender Sure road project is an instance of this elite capture of governance in Bengaluru. A group of people led by Kiran Muzamdar of Biocon, BPAC and Ramesh Ramnathan of Janaagraha, Janaadhar, Janalakshmi etc. got the project sanctioned directly by the then Chief Minister of the state at his residence with no involvement of the BBMP in 2011. The hapless council was not only kept in the dark, they were also slapped with the responsibility of paying half the cost of project which ran in to hundreds of crores.
Now, Tender Sure roads have become the most expensive urban roads in India and the people of the city have to pay for it by sacrificing their social security rights including their health and education. Besides the cost of the roads which is about 250% more than a conventional road, the people have to put up with the nuisance of a road which has been shrunk in size to accommodate a number of cables that run under wide, and inappropriately sized foot paths. The street vendors too will not have a place in Tender Sure Roads and the government will now have to prepare cable ducts which would have been otherwise paid for by private companies that use them. If this was not enough, the promoters of the project have also been given the responsibility of monitoring the construction of the road by completely bypassing engineering protocols of the local administration.
Every effort to raise the issue has been silenced by the private promoters who have got even the highest bureaucrat in the state, the Chief Secretary to silence the opinions of the police and BBMP officials. This kind of high handedness by a group of private elite has to be checked before it consumes our lives even more substantially.
It is now the responsibility of the citizens of Bengaluru to rise up against the dictatorial terms of an elite few and to recapture the democratic space in the governance of the city. Bengaluru today needs deepening of democracy based on the principles of social justice and equality for all.
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