Bellandur residents had posed a series of questions to all the candidates contesting from Bangalore Central for Lok Sabha Elections 2014. This is the email response we received from INC candidate, Rizwan Arshad.
1.If you get elected, what will you do, to prove to voters that you are honest and communicate to us about your work transparently? Will you commit to a monthly communication – email/website and/or public meeting? How can we residents send you our concerns and how will you act on those concerns?
- There will be monthly updates on my official site and associated social networks.
- We plan to bring out a quarterly newsletter highlighting the main events/ developments/ grievances from that period.
- I propose setting up a vision group consisting of experts and leaders for the entire constituency. This team will collate and streamline data, research information and provide feedback. We hope this will make administration more accessible.
2. How will you ensure public participation – i.e include us citizens of Bangalore Central – Bellandur ward – for policy-level decisions if you get elected?
- There is bound to be public participation through the vision group consisting of experts and leaders for the entire constituency. This team will collate and streamline data, research information and provide feedback. We hope this will make administration more accessible.
- This would empower you and the expert panels
- My team and I will also be accessible on my email and my official pages on social sites.
3. What is your opinion on MPLADS? If you think it serves a purpose, how can it be used effectively and not on things BBMP should be doing anyways? How will you get citizen inputs on where it should be spent?
Under the Member of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme (MPLADS), some very important initiatives can be addressed. I would like to encourage water table recharging facilities to help the Bellandur Lake. Also on my agenda are initiatives like shelters for senior citizens, and encouraging local sports and cultural activities.
4. For us, groundwater recharge, cleaning up of Bellandur lake and sustainable development are important. How will you use your MPLAD funds to help us?
- I feel very strongly about environmental issues. Bellandur Lake is one of the few surviving lakes in Bangalore. Cleaning this up is priority. I intend to take up this cause if I am elected.
- I also propose creating a panel of scientific experts to work on recharging groundwater.
5. Given that the 74th amendment talks about empowering local governments and recommends devolving power to Municipal Corporations, what will you do to ensure this happens, using your power as an MP?
a) Will you support more powers for BBMP including ability to raise its own revenue so it is a strong independent local government?
b) Do you want mayor to be city’s leader with real power over a 5 year term as opposed to the current one year term? Yes or No.
A) Yes, I do believe if the BBMP shows more efficiency, it should be able to raise its own revenue and have greater powers and freedom. It is a good idea to change archaic laws. Rented BBMP properties need to be paid for at their current market value. This would generate income and consequently increase capability.
However, we need to keep in mind BBMP’s past record. In order to raise capital, they mortgaged many public areas of interest like the Malleswaram Market and Johnson’s Market. This is not in the interest of the general public.
B) I do believe a one-year term is too short for someone to make a difference. But I am not one to take this decision.
6. Given that the MP can take high-level policy decisions regarding infrastructure development based on population’s needs and given that local authorities like the BBMP’s hands are tied – will you support a new policy to put on hold permissions for new commercial and residential construction till the water problem and road infrastructure are addressed? Yes or No
First of all, there is no escaping fixing immediate water and infrastructure issues and preparing the city no matter what the situation. So, I am not sure this question is a simple ‘yes/no’ one. There are economic and urban planning experts that have a real answer to this problem.
7. Take any massive problem — e.g groundwater recharge in entire neighbourhood or complete lack of sewerage lines in most of Bangalore’s newer areas.. pollution or public transportation. What is that one item – you will take up as a pet project – and your voters can hold you to your word.
- Better storm water drains and compulsory water harvesting.
- Tree planting drives to retain groundwater.
- I also hope to look into taking faster and more efficient administrative decisions and forming a more proactive government.
- There need to be stricter laws to curb the pollution of freshwater bodies. I advocate heavy fines be imposed on lawbreakers.