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Karnataka mulls increasing number of BBMP wards, ahead of polls

PTI, Sep 3, 2020, 5:13 PM IST

Bengaluru: With the city civic body polls around the corner, the Karnataka cabinet on Thursday discussed about increasing the number of wards under Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) from 198 to 225.

It also discussed about seeking permission from the High Court, about postponing the polls, in case the ward delimitation has to happen.

“We have discussed about increasing the number of wards under BBMP, we will have a separate meeting for it.

According to a thinking it has to be 225 wards from 198 wards now,” Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister J C Madhuswamy said.

Speaking to reporters after the cabinet meeting here, he said a joint select committee of the legislature is looking into the BBMP bill that government had placed before the assembly, and so the matter will be raised at the committee meeting and accordingly a decision taken.

“But, the government’s thinking is the number of wards should be increased, for about 40,000-42,000 population there should be a ward,” he said. “If the ward delimitation has to happen we will have to seek permission from the court to postpone the elections for some time, as the term (of current BBMP council) ends later this month, we will have approach court before that.”

To a question, whether areas under BBMP will be increased while increasing the number of wards, the minister said, more areas will get added and more parts of Bengaluru will be considered. The number of zones will increase from current 8 to 15.

“All these things will be discussed at the joint select committee meeting scheduled for tomorrow,” he added.

The BJP government at the last moment during the assembly session in March had introduced The Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) Bill that promises a 5-year mayoral term, area sabhas, among other reforms.

It was subsequently referred to the Joint Select Committee headed by BJP MLA S Raghu. Pointing out that question hour has been cancelled for the upcoming Parliament session, Madhuswamy said,what has to be done in the state assembly, it will be discussed at the business advisory committee meeting.

Amid opposition’s criticism to the government’s plans to introduce about 30 bills during the coming assembly session , he said there are about 18-20 ordinance replacement bills for this session and there is a plan to introduce another 8-10 bills.

This will be discussed at the business advisory committee meeting on the first day of the session and bills will be introduced after taking everyone into confidence, he said.

Monsoon session of the legislature will be held from September 21 to 30.

Decisions taken by the cabinet today include implementing the Rejuvenating of Watersheds for Agriculture Resilience through Innovative Development (REWARD) scheme with the help of the World Bank.

It will be taken up at a cost of Rs 600 crore during a six year period between 2020-21 to 2026-27 covering about 10 lakh hectares in 20 districts. Of this, the state government’s share is Rs 180 crore and world bank assistance will be Rs 420 crore, the minister said, adding that areas that have low groundwater level are being considered.

Administrative approval has been given for construction of new medical colleges at Havri and Yadgir with the help of the centre.

It has been decided to open LKG and UKG classes at 276 public schools run by the government.

Also a decision has been taken to adopt digital learning for students at government first grade colleges, polytechnic and engineering from 2020-21 academic year, and it will be part of their curriculum. For this Rs 35 core has been approved.

The cabinet has further decided to improve tourist amenities at Jog falls in Shivamogga district like ropeway, amphitheatre and children’s park, and has approved Rs Rs 120 crore to Karnataka Power Corporation Limited for this purpose.

It has also decided to cancel the contract earlier given to BRS ventures at Rs 450 crore in 2016 to develop Jog falls area, as no work has happened.

The other decisions include extending the tenure of the Agriculture Price Commission for 2020-23, administrative approval for construction of fishing port at Maravanthe in Udupi at an estimated Rs 85 crore, approval for a bill to replace the recent ordinance amending the APMC act which will be tabled during the coming session of the state legislature.

The cabinet has also given approval to several other bills to replace the existing ordinances like the Karnataka Epidemic Diseases Ordinance, 2020, and they are likely to be placed in the session for approval.

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