Commissioner says citizens can file objections, suggestions, if any, within 15 days
Taking a leap in the formation of ward committees, Mangaluru City Corporation has prepared the draft list of nominated/qualified members. It will be uploaded in the website of the civic body. It will also be displayed on its notice board on Monday.
Commissioner of the corporation Akshy Sridhar has in a statement said that citizens can file their objections and suggestions, if any, within 15 days from Monday. They will have to be addressed to the zonal commissioners and submitted to them. In addition, they can be submitted to the inventory officers at the central office of the corporation at Lalbagh or e-mailed to [email protected]
Decision kept pending
The council of the city corporation has been systematically avoiding the constitution of the committees for over two decades now. A decision on constituting the committees has been pending before the council since 1997-98. It was due to the apprehension of the councillors that the ward committees will undermine their importance. Though the law mandated the constitution of the committees, the then Mayor Mahabala Marla had in 2014 even constituted a three-member committee of the councillors to study the pros and cons of the ward committees. The report of the three-member committee was, however, never placed before the council.
The council even defied a directive from the then Urban Development Minister Vinay Kumar Sorake to constitute the committees. Mr. Sorake, in a meeting had, on October 7, 2014, directed the civic body to form the committees within a month from thereon. He had also asked it to form citizens forums, deliberation committees and area sabhas.
On July 14, 2011, a voluntary organisation, Namma Mane Namma Ooru of Pachchanady, wrote to the then Commissioner of the civic body that it will petition the High Court of Karnataka about the failure of the corporation to constitute the committees. Following this, an agenda was again placed before the council in the same month but the council postponed it.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led council was forced to adopt a resolution on constituting the committees on August 13, 2020 following a High Court directive. The High Court, on August 8, 2019, while hearing a public interest writ petition filed by Karnataka Ward Samithi Vedike, MCC Civic Group and others, directed that the ward committees be formed.
The BJP had in its manifesto for the corporation council elections in 2007 promised to constitute the committees. Though the party was elected to power for the first time to the civic body, it did not constitute the committees during its five-year stint. The party again promised to form the committees in the last elections to the council in 2019.
The constitution of the committees was required under Section 13 (A) of Karnataka Municipal Corporations Act 1976 which said that cities having a population of three lakh and above shall constitute the ward committees. Later, the Karnataka Municipal Corporations (Amendment) Act 2011 made it mandatory for city corporations to form the committees. In addition, the Lok Adalat, had, on January 4, 2014, also directed the city corporation to take steps to constitute the committees.
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