BENGALURU: Over 100 people representing various civil society organisations, trade unions, workers’ federations, resident welfare associations, artistes, street vendor associations and environmental groups on Friday protested against the Bangalore Blueprint Action Group (BBAG), which has been set up by the government.
Members of the Environment Support Group (ESG), Alternative Law Forum (ALF) and Citizens’ Action Forum (CAF) demanded disbanding of the BBAG and making District/Metropolitan Planning Committees and Ward Committees functional across the state. Terming it a Club of the Rich and Famous, protesters demanded that Chief Minister Siddaramaiah should immediately scrap the group.
“The chief minister should defer to Constitutional 74th Amendment (Nagarapalika) Act, 1992 and set up the District/Metropolitan Planning Committees and make them functional within three months. The government must ensure that the ward committees are functional as directed by the Karnataka High Court over two years ago. This fear expressed by the Mayor clearly indicates how Mr Siddaramaiah, celebrating his third year in power, is curbing autonomy and independence of local self-governments in blatant violation of the Constitution,” alleged Mr Vinay Srinivas, member, Alternate Law Forum (ALF).
The protest was staged in front of the BBMP head office and the members held placards that read ‘disband vision group’, ‘save democracy’, ‘vision group a band of corporate thugs’ and more. Mayor B.N. Manjunath Reddy said that he appreciated the meaning and depth of the concerns and that he would communicate them to the chief minister. But he declined to step out of the BBAG, saying, “I cannot go against the government. The government gives funds to the BBMP. If I go against the government, then BBMP may stop receiving funds.”