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BBMP trifurcation: What will it mean for citizens? Will it work?

BBMP trifurcation: What will it mean for citizens? Will it work?

Newskarnataka- Bengaluru   ¦    Apr 23, 2015 12:06:21 PM (IST)

Bengaluru: What does the BBMP trifurcation really mean for those who live in Bengaluru? This is the question that must be answered by the netas who are out to tamper with an admittedly inefficient system that prevails now.

According to the Karnataka Municipal Corporation (Amendment) Bill, 2015, the rationale behind trifurcation is the difficulty in administering a city with a population of more than 8 million, by a single corporation. This is welcome and noble motive for the trifurcation - but the issue is the trifurcation is not based on effeciency parameters, but on size.  It must be noted that urban services are not the preserve of the City Corporation. There are many agencies involved and the main ones, roads and health are cross city.

BBMP trifurcation: What will it mean for citizens? Will it work?-1

How will the trifurcation work? It will work on the basis of fragmentation, offering different bundles of services that will enable citizens choose in which corporation they want to live.

The late economist Charles Tiebout argued that fragmentation allows small jurisdictions to offer different `bundles' of public services, giving citizens the possibility of "voting with their feet" i.e. to move to the jurisdiction that provides the mix of services that suits them best. But, by assuming easy mobility of citizens across boundaries, the Tiebout model is problematic in contexts such as India, where access to opportunities, jobs in particular, are limited by socio-economic barriers.

One must not make things than they already are. The BBMP will give away its infrastructure, assets and liablities to the newly formed corporations. While this may ease administration for the administrators, the citizens may be forced to run pillar to post across corporations if there is no seamless flow of work.

Trifurcation failed in Delhi... will it succeed in Bengaluru?

Delhi's tryst with trifurcating the municipal corporation has not been a success. Two of the three corporations (North and East) are on the verge of bankruptcy and have not paid salaries since January 2015. Last month, the corporations moved a proposal to merge and go back to the single municipal corporation system. Finances apart, administratively too, the experiment has been unpalatable expereience for the residents. Just to quote an example - the residents of Daryaganj, a locality in Delhi, who went to the municipal corporation office for their property documents,  were told the papers were untraceable or yet to be shifted from one zone to another after the division of the civic body governing the national capital. The central server with all citizens' records crashed after the urban development department began segregating the records after the Delhi Municipal Corporation was trifurcated.

With the Siddaramaiah government now passing a bill to divide the BBMP, the scene could be no different here. 

First, there has been no planning on how the corporations should function. At the lower level, the citizen will not feel any impact as they will continue to interact with the same officers they were dealing before the division. Revenue sharing must be equal if the corporations are to progress, else projects where they are needed most - in the less revenue earning corporation will be stalled. Asset division and the revenue sharing model is the key to a successful trifurcation.

if Delhi is the role model for Bengaluru, Siddaramaiah may have got it all wrong. Trifurcation might only make matters worse for Bengalureans. And before the BBMP trifurcation saga is over for Bengaluru, Delhi might be back to having a single unified municipal corporation.