Concerned Citizens want Ward Committees formed with Revised Rules in KMC Act

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Concerned Citizens want Ward Committees formed with Revised Rules in KMC Act

Concerned Citizens want Ward Committees formed with Revised Rules in Karnataka Municipal Corporations {KMC} Act, 1976

Mangaluru: It should be noted that Ward committees are a pre-requisite for cities, which have a population over three lakhs, and the cities which come under the Smart City project. But unfortunately, Mangaluru City Corporation has failed to form ward committees in its 60 wards, in spite of many past reminders and protests from various activists of many organizations. An Area Sabha is defined as the body of electors in the area covered by one or more polling booths in a particular ward, as suggested in the Community Participation Law Bill. Though the constitution of Area Sabhas and Ward Committees are notified in the amendment to Karnataka Municipal Corporations Act 1976, but MCC has not taken steps to form them. The reason MCC is not forming Ward Committees/Area Sabhas is because the Corporators are hand in hand with politicians so that they can pocket some extra money out of the crores of rupees sanctioned by the Central government under the Smart City project.

The State of Karnataka mandated by Article 243 S of the Constitution of India (Section 13 H ) of Karnataka Municipal Corporations Act, 1976 clearly states that every municipal corporation has to form ward committees, before they take up any project on their own decision. But for that matter, Mangaluru City Corporation has ignored it. Without a Ward Committee, the involvement of public is locked. Although in the past many organizations, including MCC Civic Group have made repeated requests to MCC to have Ward Committees, but their efforts have gone in vain.

It is essential for good governance that citizens are actively involved in the processes with regard to planning, budgeting, monitoring and evaluation of programmes/projects. Ward committees are regarded as the vehicle to promote good governance at local government level and must, in conjunction with the Council, execute the constitutional objects for a government. The Over strand Municipality is governed as a municipality with a mayoral executive system combined with a ward participatory system as per Section 9 (d) of the Local Government: Municipal Structures Act, 1998. The establishment and operation of a Ward Committee must be in accordance with Section 72 to 78 of the Local Government: Municipal Structures Act, 1998.

OBJECTIVES: The objective of a ward committee is to enhance participatory democracy in local government. Ward committees must participate in – preparing, implementation and review of the Integrated Development Plan (IDP); Establishment, implementation and review of a Performance Management System (PMS); Preparation of the budget; Strategic decisions of the municipality relating to the provision of municipal services in terms of Chapter 8 of the Systems Act, 2000.

A Ward Committee is the official channel of communication between the community and municipality regarding municipal matters in a particular Ward. A ward committee is an advisory body without any executive powers to assist the Ward Councillor in their duties. Ward committees must perform their functions impartially without fear, favour or prejudice.

As per 243 S Constitution and Composition of Wards Committees it clearly states that- There shall be constituted wards Committees, consisting of one ore more wards, within the territorial area of a Municipality having a population of three lakhs or more; The legislature of a State, by Law, make provision with respect to-a) the composition and the territorial of a Wards Committee; b) the manner in which the seats in the Wards Committee shall be filled; A member of a Municipality representing a ward within the territorial area of the Wards Committee shall be a member of that Committee.

Where a wards Committee consists of -a) one Ward, the member representing that Ward in the Municipality; or b) two or more Wards, one of the members representing such Wards in the Municipality elected by the members of the Wards Committee, shall be the Chairperson of that Committee; Nothing in this article shall be deemed to prevent the Legislature of a state from making any provision for the Constitution of Committees in addition to the Wards Committee.

“Enough is Enough with MCC, we can’t wait any longer”- with that attitude, a group of concerned citizens of Mangaluru including Entrepreneurs, Engineers, Advocate and other like-minded citizens met on Sunday 17 June 2018 at the office of a local architect, and discussed about a non-legal solution, to form Ward Committees and area Sabhas in Mangaluru at the earliest. The citizens who joined in the discussion were- Vivekananda Paniyal-Advocate, Dharmaraj- Architect, Ashok Mendonca- Architect, Padmanabha Ullal-Retd Engineer, Rohan Shiri- Entrepreneur, Er Rajendra Kumar – Engineer, Nigel Albuquerque, Gerald Towers and Ajoy D’silva- all three activists. {Few other citizens couldn’t make it for the meeting on Sunday due to their prior commitments, but have assured full support in this project}. The initiative of this meet was taken by Nigel Albuquerque, the lead member of MCC Civic Group.

The group has decided to meet once again on Wednesday 20 June, and finalize the changes made to some of the clauses in the KMC Act 1976. The group has also decided to meet UT Khader, Karnataka State Minister for Urban Development and Housing regarding this issue of forming Ward Committees and Area Sabhas.

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