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Government to take another shot at splitting BBMP

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The New Indian Express      05.04.2017 

Government to take another shot at splitting BBMP

Pipes being put up in the BBMP office; An RWH pit in the BBMP office premises | NAGARAJA GADEKAL

BENGALURU: The state government seems to be making yet another push for restructuring Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike into five smaller city corporations. Having been unsuccessful in its earlier attempts, it does not want to leave anything to chance and has already begun the ground work.

The 100 wards of Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BMP) were expanded to 198 under BBMP in 2007 with the inclusion of 110 CMC and TMC areas. With the IT boom, the real estate sector grew and the city expanded rapidly in geographical area.

It was then that the government stressed that one mayor and one commissioner would not be enough for the city.

Later, a BBMP Restructuring Committee was constituted, headed by former chief secretary B S Patil, former BBMP commissioner Siddaiah and urban expert V Ravichandar. The committee favoured splitting of BBMP for better administration.

On Monday, Bengaluru Development Minister K J George held a meeting with Mayor Padmavathi and BBMP officials on restructuring the existing eight Palike zones to 10. “We have asked the BBMP restructuring committee to make a few changes and we expect to get the report in a week’s time. We will then issue a notification,’’ George said.

BBMP Commissioner Manjunath Prasad said the panel had recommended 10 zones. “In the meeting, it was brought to the notice of George that Rajarajeshwarinagar and Yeshwanthpur assembly constituencies come under three different zones, while Bengaluru South constituencies come under two. It will be problematic if one assembly constituency comes under two or more zones. Hence, the panel was told to rework this,’’ he said.

However, sources in the Urban Development said restructuring of zones will be applicable only for the current term of the BBMP council.

The sources said the Patil Committee is now working on  drafting and collecting data for delimitation of wards. The committee has recommended that the population in each ward should be around 35,000. The affairs of the ward can be managed even if the population touches 45,000-50,000. This will ensure better coordination between local elected representatives and officials. The committee is also working on the Cadre and Recruitment Rule for systematic working of the five proposed corporations, they said.


Government to help local bodies salvage projects

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The Times of India       31.03.2017  

Government to help local bodies salvage projects

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The state government has embarked on a set of remedial measures to salvage at least some projects under plan fund for the local bodies in the state in the wake of dip in utilization percentage.

The government has offered a solace for the local bodies which are on the verge of getting their funds lapsed owing to nil utilization by March 31. As per the decision of the local selfgovernment department, civic bodies can get their projects for the year 2017-18 approved by district planning committee (DPC) by March 31. If they manage to do so, such projects could be carried over to the next fiscal, thereby preventing lapse of funds.

"It is true that fund utilization was difficult for local bodies owing to many factors. We have given an opportunity to save funds in such a way that once the DPC approval is received, projects could be carried over. The finance department will issue an order on this regard within a week,'' said K T Jaleel.

This will also offer an added advantage for local bodies. With the DPC approving projects before March, local bodies would be able to start implementation by April. "Usually this process starts only by June or in some cases it gets even extended.Now, implementation of pro jects could start off in April itself which would en sure that we would be able to cover al most all projects well before March, 2018," said V K Prasanth, mayor, Thiruvanan thapuram corpora tion.

Finance minis ter T M Thomas Isaac recently told the assembly that the local bodies that failed to complete their projects in time would be able to carry over the plan fund to next financial year.

"The only condition is that the local bodies should have commenced the projects already . The funds of the projects that are yet to begin will be lapsed,'' said Isaac while replying query on fund utilisation in local bodies.

AMRUT: A mission impossible in the making

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The Times of India  31.03.2017  

AMRUT: A mission impossible in the making

Representative image
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The bad reputation the state has in handling centrally-sponsored schemes for infrastructure development has started getting reflected in AMRUT (Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation).Going by the progress of the scheme, AMRUT is following the downward trajectory of its precursor JNNURM with regard to utilization of funds.

The total central allocation to the state under AMRUT during the mission period (2015-16 to 2019-20) is Rs 1,161.20 cr. The state and the mission cities together have to contribute a matching share and the total outlay under AMRUT Mission is Rs 2,333.92 cr over a period of five years. Nine urban bodies including six corporations are covered under AMRUT Mission in the state.

With less than three years left, the state is grappling with the mammoth task of executing projects worth Rs 2,000cr in nine urban bodies. According to project officials, change in administration at the helm of local self-government department led to shift in strategies which resulted in delay in implementation.

While in 2016, the local self-government department decided to engage a project development and management consultant (PDMC) as the key monitoring agency of AMRUT, the decision was later reversed and the state highpowered steering committee decided to explore various options of imple mentation without a PDMC. It was also cited that the functions of PDMC should be split as project development, quality assurance and project monitoring. The high-powered committee also mooted the interaction between government and academic institutions and it was suggested that expertise of academicians in reputed engineering colleges shall be utilised for project development, quality check and monitoring. All these factors led to the need for formation of an expert committee comprising sector experts for north and south regions. Although the move was driven by good intentions, the government order regarding formation of technical committee is still pending and without technical sanction of the expert committee, none of the urban bodies under AMRUT Mission have been able to implement projects.

The financial progress of all schemes under water supply , sewerage and septage management, storm water drainage, urban transport and green space and parks is zero even for projects that were approved in 2015-16.No tenders have been floated or awarded for schemes envisaged under water supply , sewerage and septage management. The only nominal progress has been recorded under small budget works approved in 2015-16 state annual action plan in Kochi and Thiruvananthapuram corporations.

State Annual Action Plan (SAAP) for an amount of Rs 973.64 Cr for 201718 has been submitted to the Centre for approval. "The situation is bleak for the state as the union ministry has mandated that we need to achieve 50% physical progress for works awarded during 2015-16 and 50% completion of DPRs (detailed project reports) for projects approved during 2016-17 if the state annual action plan (SAAP) for 2017-18 needs to be approved. In our case not even 10% has been recorded till now," an official said.
Last Updated on Friday, 31 March 2017 10:25
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