MCC All Set to Form Ward Committee Soon- Kudos to MCC Civic Group for their efforts. Citizens are requested to file their objections and grievances within a period of 15 days at the zonal offices, addressed to the zonal commissioners and inventory officers at the central office, or email the same concerns to firstname.lastname@example.org.”
Mangaluru: On the outset, I would like to congratulate the two activists who with their fight and enormous efforts resulted in achieving the FIRST of its Milestone in the history of Mangaluru City- and that is in trying to form the much needed WARD COMMITTEE- and these two activists are Nigel Albuquerque and Ajoy D’Sliva- the Founders of MCC Civic Group. And along with them, Team Mangalorean would also like to congratulate the other hard-working members of the MCC Civic Group, who have also played a vital role in this great achievement.
Before going further into this report, let me first give a compilation of everything you might want to know, as to What exactly is the WARD COMMITTEE. Ward committees are citizen committees at the hyper-local level meant to decide the functioning of the ward. They have been mandated by Nagarapalika Act, or the 74th constitutional amendment, to ensure citizens’ participation in decision-making. Each ward committee must include three women, two SC/ST members, two resident welfare associations and three other members chosen by the Corporator—all of them should be the voters in the ward. It should be chaired by the Corporator, while an official nominated by the Corporator must be the secretary of the ward committee. This must be placed in the Mangaluru City Corporation Council meeting and must be approved.
When it was thought that a Ward Committee was a MUST in Mangaluru, two citizens of Mangaluru sat together and were determined to form a Ward Committee in Mangaluru- and they were Nigel Albuquerque and Ajoy D’Silva, the Co-founders of the MCC Civic group, which was formed with like-minded citizens. Six years ago in order to address the several multiple civic problems citizens face across Mangaluru, MCC Civic Group had fought the battle in the High Court to form Area Sabhas and Ward Committees in Mangaluru- and they succeeded in winning the Case. It should be also noted that an agenda to form ward committees was presented at the council meeting of the MCC on August 28, 2014, and a special meet was held in this regard on 29 October 2014. It was again recently passed unanimously at the council meeting on 13 August 2020.
L-R: Ajoy D’silva & Nigel Albuquerque (Co-Founders of MCC Civic Group) and Narendra Kumar – President, Nagarika Shakti
Prior to heading to the High Court, both Nigel and Ajoy found that resolving civic problems was akin to a bottomless pit and researched for a permanent solution narrowed down to institutionalizing citizens participation via Ward Committees and Area Sabhas in the true spirit of the 74th Constitutional Amendment of 1992, Supplemented by the Karnataka Municipal Corporations (Amendment) Act of 2011. Upon meeting a deadlock repeatedly approaching the respective authorities in Mangaluru City Corporation for regulatory compliance, MCC Civic Group to the judicial route, successfully moving the High court of Karnataka in Bengaluru Judgement orders for the ward committees and Area Sabhas in Mangaluru City Corporation-WP53244/2018 awaiting judicial compliance.
It should be noted that during the MCC council meeting held on 13 August 2020, one of the agendas during the Council Meeting was regarding Ward Committee and Area Sabhas in MCC with reference to the High Court of Karnataka in Bengaluru judgement orders WP 53244/2018. And the good news was that the Ward Committee and Area Sabha in MCC was unanimously passed in the Meeting, supported by members from both BJP and Congress. The initiative to form the Ward Committee and Area Sabha was taken up by the MCC Civic Group. MCC Civic Group Institutionalized Citizen Participation in MCC, 27 years after the 74th Constitutional Amendment took effect.
It was a BIG victory for the Founders of MCC Civic Group, Nigel Albuquerque and Ajoy D’Silva, who along with Smt Kathyayini Chamaraj – Executive Trustee, CIVIC Bangalore ®; and Narendra Kumar – President, Nagarika Shakti ® & State Joint Secretary, Forum to Build Bribe-Free Karnataka ®, both from Bengaluru, had filed a case in the High Court to form Ward Committee and Area Sabha in Mangaluru on 27 November 2018, and on 8 August 2019, Hon’ble Chief Justice Abhay Shreenivas Oka of the High Court passed the order for the formation of the Ward Committees & Area Sabhas.
And now, two years after the High Court of Karnataka gave a direction for the formation of ward committees in the city, the Mangaluru City Corporation is finalising the list of members for each committee. The Mangaluru City Corporation (MCC), after going through the applications it received for the appointment of ward committees in 60 wards, has prepared a draft list. A decision to form ward committees in all the wards was taken at a council meeting in September 2020, based on the directions of the high court. Though the process of receiving applications from eligible citizens for the ward committees was completed in December last year, the city corporation could not prepare a list till the end of July, due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The draft list of eligible citizens to be made the members of the ward committees will be published on August 2, to invite objections and suggestions, said MCC commissioner Akshay Sridhar. He further said, “In pursuance with the consultation at the ward committee review meeting that was held on June 18, 2021, the applications for the impending wards were reviewed. A tentative list containing the names of all nominated or qualified members has been prepared in July. This list will be put on display from Monday on the city corporation website and notice board. Citizens are requested to file their objections and grievances within a period of 15 days at the zonal offices, addressed to the zonal commissioners and inventory officers at the central office, or email the same concerns to email@example.com.”
MCC Commissioner also said, “It is mandatory that all city corporations need to form ward committees, comprising 10 members in each ward, as per the 2011 amendment of the Karnataka Municipal Act. Following this, the MCC invited applications from citizens to take part in the ward committees as its members. While November 15 was the last date, the city corporation extended the deadline to December 4 based on the request of people. All applications have been scrutinised and ward-wise lists have also been prepared. The process could not be continued between April 23 and June 16 due to the Covid-19 pandemic”.
JANAAGRAHA CONGRATULATES THE CITIZENS OF MANGALURU ON THE FORMATION OF WARD COMMITTEES:
As per the press release from Janaagraha (Janaagraha Centre for Citizenship and Democracy is a non-profit trust in the Jana Group co-founded by Swati Ramanathan and Ramesh Ramanathan in 2001. Janaagraha’s mission is to transform the quality of life in India’s cities and towns.) – In the backdrop of Mangaluru City Corporation (MCC) announcing the provisional list of MCC ward committee members, Janaagraha congratulates the citizens of Mangaluru and the civic groups for their active interest in the formation of Ward Committees. Now each of the 60 ward committees is part of urban governance that is more meaningful, sustainable and will systematically engage and collaborate with the City Corporation.
Janaagraha believes that decentralized governance with the participation of ward committee members will bring much-needed transparency, accountability and lead to effective management of the city roads, footpaths, solid waste management and other developmental works. On its part, Janaagraha since October held online webinars, collaborated with Non- Governmental organizations (NGO), Civic Groups and conducted multiple awareness drives to encourage citizen participation in ward committees.
It also appreciates the work done by members of civil society organizations in bringing the impending matter on Ward Committees to the attention of the honourable court and getting a favourable verdict which led to the subsequent course of action that we witness today. Srinivas Alavilli – Head, Civic Participation at Janaagraha said, “Congratulations to Mangaluru for becoming the second city in Karnataka and one of the very few cities in India to have constituted ward committees! The promise of ward committees is realized only when the citizen members work in a constructive manner with local elected representatives and officials. Ward Committees realize the dream of Gandhi’s Gram Swaraj by enabling citizens to participate in democracy not just to raise complaints but also to plan the development of their own ward, keeping the needs of all sections of society in the ward.” Janaagraha thanks the Honourable Mayor of Mangaluru City Corporation.
Premananda Shetty and Deputy Mayor Sumangala Rao, MCC Commissioner Akshy Sridhar, Former Mayor Diwakar Pandeshwar, Former Deputy Mayor Vedavathi and all MCC Corporators for their consensus support to the citizen-centric Ward Committees. It also acknowledges the support of the media and all the individuals and institutional stakeholders for taking progressive steps for the formation of ward committees and meeting the aspirations of all the Mangalureans. Janaagraha will be honoured to help create formal systems for ward committees work, including training for all stakeholders and IT support.
In conclusion, for various reasons, the city is known for its high-quality human resources, but somehow it has shown a certain degree of relent in taking forward civic issues. But things have changed after a group of young civic activists led by the WhatsApp group ‘MCC Civic Group’. The group administrator Nigel Albuquerque and many of the group members have been discussing why Mangaluru city corporation did not form the ward committees despite the directives from the government. The city’s civic leaders did not open their eyes even after the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike was rapped by the court for not holding the ward committee meetings regularly. The civic activists of the city have been knocking at every door including the people’s representatives, the Mayor, Commissioner of Mangaluru City Corporation and the successive Deputy Commissioners for a long time.
With all the efforts put in by the MCC Civic group, let’s hope that the Area Sabhas & Ward Committees will benefit for the betterment of this growing city, where now with some of the corrupt officials and councillors who are running the show in MCC are ruining the progress of the City systematically. Various committees have formed partnerships over the years, and the result has been a cohesive campaign that has community members working towards a singular goal. Good job by the MCC Civic group, and three cheers to Nigel Albuquerque, Ajoy D’Ssilva, Smt Kathyayini Chamaraj, Narendra Kumar, and many others, for their determination and fight in finally making Mangaluru Smart City/MCC, have ‘WARD COMMITTEES’.