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Ward committees to be finalised next week: BBMP Commissioner

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The Hindu         12.06.2017    

Ward committees to be finalised next week: BBMP Commissioner

The one-month deadline given by HC to set up these committees ended in May

As citizen activists raise their pitch to get more people to enrol in ward committees, the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) has said that the list for all 198 wards will be finalised next week. The one-month deadline given by the High Court of Karnataka to set up these committees ended in May.

With allegations that councillors are misusing powers to pick and choose people for the committees, BBMP Commissioner N. Manjunath Pasad said citizens can send in their nominations directly to him. In fact, activists had alleged that in many cases, councillors were thwarting nominations of residents who were more likely to question them. In addition, there are misgivings about the kind of work involved and the time they need to put in, they said.

The Palike had recently informed the High Court of Karnataka that ward committees have been constituted in 68 wards. Of these, around 27 have been functioning even before the High Court’s intervention. Kathyayini Chamraj from CIVIC Bangalore said, with the Commissioner enabling nominations to be filed through him, residents, who had hesitated to file their nominations fearing interference from councillors, could also now apply.

“It is necessary for serious-minded citizens to become part of it to break the nexus. Or else, people chosen by the councillors will hold constitutional positions,” she said. So far, various civic groups have managed to get 350 people nominated to the ward committees. A similar campaign to get more citizens to volunteer was held by the Citizens for Bengaluru (CfB) on Saturday as well. Srinivas Alavilli from CfB said, “We need 1,980 people to stand up and be counted as members of the 198 wards. However, a very few people signed up owing to a variety of reasons. This is an opportunity for people to get into governance.”


Liquor shops: Local bodies to have no say

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The New Indian Express        01.06.2017  

Liquor shops: Local bodies to have no say

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Local bodies will no longer have a say in allowing liquor shops in their limits. The Cabinet on Wednesday decided to issue an ordinance amending the relevant clauses of the Kerala Municipalities Act and the Kerala Panchayat Raj Act in this regard.

According to the government, the amendments are being made to enable the uniform implementation of the Abkari Act across the state and to end the discrimination between existing liquor licencees and new applicants.

The government move is intended to enable the Kerala State Beverages Corporation to open outlets shut along highways following the Supreme Court verdict in new locations. In many locations, the local bodies concerned have also said a big ‘no’ to new bars and beer and wine parlours. The state government plans to declare the new liquor policy by June 30.

Bevco’s attempts to relocate the liquor shops had triggered stiff opposition in local communities. Bevco was forced to shift 179 of its 270 outlets following SC order. Even now, Bevco is struggling to open 90 of the shut-down outlets in new locations.

This is what the Municipalities Act says: ‘’A municipality may notify by publication in the Gazette or in any other manner as may be prescribed that no place within the municipal area shall be used for any one or more of the purposes specified 24 (in the rules made in this behalf) or for any other trade without licence and except in accordance with the conditions specified therein and where the licence is for running hostels, restaurants, eating houses, coffee houses, Abkari shop, laundries, travel agency or barber saloons, the licence shall always contain and be deemed to contain a condition that admission or service therein shall be available to the public.’’

Cabinet Appointments

Raju Narayana Swamy, who was removed as Agriculture Secretary last week following an open feud with Biju Prabhakar, appointed Principal Secretary of P&ARD.  
Finance Resources Secretary Minhaj Alam given additional charge of Tax Department.
Housing Commissioner K N Satheesh made director of Industries and Commerce Dept.

Chengannoor sub-collector S Chandrasekhar appointed Thalassery sub collector.
Fisheries Dept Additional Chief Secretary James Varghese given additional charge of Forest and Wildlife department and Tax (Excise) department.

Smart City projects set to take shape

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The Hindu         25.05.2017   

Smart City projects set to take shape

This year, Chennai will spend around Rs. 100 crore to give itself a makeover

Two years after Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the Smart Cities Mission, its implementation is likely to kick off in the city. Key smart city projects are likely to be cleared for administrative sanction by the Board of Directors of Chennai Smart City Ltd. on Wednesday, said sources in the Chennai Corporation.

Wednesday’s meeting will be the fourth board meeting of Chennai Smart City Ltd. The previous three meetings did not clear any proposal. Slated to cost Rs. 85 crore, the key projects to be cleared include constructing a new multi-level car parking facility, redevelopment of eight parks, redesigning of 23 roads, and development of a pedestrian plaza.

“Other important projects such as a traffic management system and phase 2 and 3 of the Pedestrian Plaza in T.Nagar will be implemented later. A detailed project report for many of the projects will be ready soon,” said an official.


Challenges to the implementation of Smart City Mission projects include opposition from traders in T.Nagar, hurdles in revision of parking charges for the city, implementation of Metro Rail project, lack of interest among other stakeholders in the private sector to support the projects, inadequate funding for smart city proposals and resettlement of hawkers.

This year Chennai is likely to spend only around Rs. 100 crore for projects under the Smart City Mission.

The multi-level car parking can accommodate 230 cars and 550 two-wheelers, but there is a hitch. The corporation can’t collect charges for motorcycles, as per an existing government order. It can collect only Rs. 5 per hour for cars. This makes operation and maintenance of the multi-level parking facility an expensive proposition. The government has to revise the parking fee, an official said, adding that this would be discussed in the board meeting. Work on redevelopment of Panagal Park has been shelved due to the Metro Rail project in the area and civic officials expect a few other proposals in the city to be hit by subsequent phases of the Metro Rail.

41 projects

Officials say that at least 41 Smart City projects are expected to be implemented at an estimated cost of Rs. 1,300 crore in the city in the years to come. But implementation of many of these projects including 24x7 supply of water in T.Nagar is likely to be a challenge as a number of unauthorised buildings dot the city’s commercial district, officials say.

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