Bengaluru | Ward committee meetings steadily gaining popularity: Report

A ward committee meeting in Shanthi Nagar (ward 117), 2019. File pic: Rekha Chari

Fresh study has claimed that ward committees in Bengaluru have started to gain a lot of popularity among the civic society as it has become more regular in the past six months.

According to a study conducted by Janaagraha, a Bengaluru-based NGO, out of 1,864 ward committee meetings in between September and December, last year, the civic body conducted 1,553 meetings.

The study finds:

While 1,170 meetings were held during September 2021 to April 2022, 2,419 meetings were conducted between August 2020 and September 2021.

The study further concluded that 388 meetings were held per month between September 2022 to December 2022, on an average across the wards.

All the wards managed to conduct at least two meetings during the four months considered for review. The maximum number of ward committee meetings (417) were conducted during the month of October 2022.

Dasarahalli, East, Mahadevapura, Raja Rajeshwari Nagara, South and Yelahanka were the highly performing zones while Bommanahalli, West was classified as a partially performing zone.

Meanwhile, 132 wards (52 per cent), have conducted all the eight meetings in the quarter months considered for a review.

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About Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike:

The Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) is divided into eight zones and 243 wards. Each ward is a small geographic area with 40,000-50,000 population.

A corporator is elected from each ward once in five years and every ward has engineers, health inspectors and other officials that are responsible for providing services to citizens in that ward.

Notably, BBMP Act 2021 replaced the Karnataka Municipal Corporation Act that governs all other city corporations of Karnataka and provides forward committees.

Significance of ward meetings:

“During COVID, they realised the importance of ward committees. How it helped the government reach out to the citizens. Post-COVID, they realised the utilities of ward committees and senior officials are enabling the running of ward committees,” Santosh Nargund of Janaagraha, said.

He further claimed that ward committee meetings give citizens a chance to participate directly in the functioning of the democracy and bring changes.

“Citizens are more concerned about the state of roads, water, bus stops, playgrounds, parks and issues like that. They can bring forth these issues in ward committee meetings,” Nargund added.

In Bengaluru, ward committee meetings take place once in a month, on the first Saturday in the ward office at 10 A.M.

No BBMP polls since 2020

Bengaluru has been without an elected body since September 2020 when the term of the BBMP ended, and the last BBMP polls were held in November 2015.

In the absence of elected representatives (Corporators), BBMP has appointed Nodal Officers chair the ward committee meetings, while in many wards Nodal Officers have also not been appointed – leading to several wards not holding monthly ward committee meetings.

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