Bangalore’s loss…..

It was heartening to read the announcement of the new Chief Minister in February this year, post his swearing in, re-assuring citizens – fed up with the pathetic state of Bangalore’s infrastructure and its non-addressal by the Dharam Singh govt. – that public private partnerships programmes to accelerate the development of Bangalore would be resuscitated. All encouragement could be expected from him, he had said.

It thus felt like a body blow to me to read recently that Ramesh Ramanathan, founder, of one such initiative – Janaagraha -would be taking up a new post as honorary National Technical Advisor & Chairperson of the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission. Even more distressing was that the CM himself had proposed Ramesh’s name for the post!!

Janaagraha, launched at the time when S.M Krishna was Chief Minister, was an idea which could not have come sooner. It gave ordinary citizens a voice in improving the quality of public infrastructure in and around them & taught Bangalore City Corporation officials just what accountability, its spelling, meaning and scope, meant. Perhaps they were convinced that it did them a world of good for – voila! – they began presenting a quarterly performance report to the citizens – a la corporates! No mean task, this!

Together with the Bangalore Agenda Task Force – instituted by Nandan Nilekani of Infosys – Janaagraha recorded a palpable degree of success in improving citizens’ knowledge of civic issues and getting them involved in raising the system of governance.

Hence the disappointment. A few strong cups of degree coffees later, I sobered down enough to accept this development. Caffeine kicking in, I reflected that, perhaps, the silver lining in the cloud was this: Bangalore’s loss would be India’s gain.

The JN-NURM covers 63 cities in India and the good lord only knows that initiatives such as Janaagraha and similar ones, are proposed quickly by the JN-NURM, accepted and implemented by state governments with participation from citizens.

It should do India – the world’s largest democracy, a world of good!


3 Comments so far

  1. usha (unregistered) on April 3rd, 2006 @ 2:04 pm

    Agree. It is time citizens also participated actively in such initiatives instead of just voting watching and complaining.

  2. Kaps (unregistered) on April 3rd, 2006 @ 3:17 pm

    Hi All,
    Happy to know that the Bangalore Metroblog is up and running. Good luck to the entire team!

  3. Lavanya (unregistered) on April 3rd, 2006 @ 3:32 pm

    Hello Bangalore!

    Welcome & Good Luck!

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