When will we have a real Master Plan for Bengaluru?

Wherever BDA shows its Master Plan, there are strong objections to it. People point out that it …

(a) .. is autocratic, having been developed with no input from the people of the city. It is almost as if it is being shown to us after everything is done and dusted, and only to comply with the legal requirement for ‘consultations’.

(b) … is ill-conceived. The idea that the existing BDA region can / should support twice the population we now have is foolhardy, besides being environmentally tenuous.

(c) … is unconstitutional, having followed none of the statutory processes for developing a plan as per law.

(d) … is wishful, given how little of its last plan BDA was able to implement. No lessons have been learned from previous failures, and no effort has been made to change how we plan the city. Almost certainly, this plan too will collapse (compliance with the last Plan was less than 10%).

A lot of people have pointed out to the government that BDA doesn’t have any clue what needs to be done. The people that it has put in charge of planning the city cannot even be presented outside its premises as planners. It is by virtue of their position that they pretend to know what is going on, but in fact they will reliably produce total disasters, and in the process embarrass the government repeatedly (e.g. steel flyover). Even the CM agreed with this assessment of the BDA !!

That being the case, why do they still do it this way? The answer is quite simple. There is a political economy around land in the city. And that economy depends strongly on secrecy in planning, and on protecting the vested interests of a few people rather than what is good for the city. Only when that changes can we have a real Master Plan. And the ‘masters’ of that plan will be the people of the city.

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About Ashwin Mahesh 96 Articles
Ashwin Mahesh has been involved in public policy for Bengaluru through his work with the Karnataka government. The views expressed here are his own. He is a member of the Lok Satta party. He is also CEO of Mapunity Information Services, and a director at Oorvani Media, publisher of Citizen Matters and India Together. He is also a visiting faculty with the Centre for Public Policy at IIM Bangalore.

1 Comment

  1. Today’s (24-jan-2017) Deccan Herald e-paper (www.deccanheraldepaper.com) had a notice for a BDA Master Plan meeting at NMKRV College, Jayanagar, at 3pm in its “In City Today” section:
    BDA: Public consultation on Bengaluru Master Plan 2031, Mangala Bhavan, NMKRV College, 3 pm

    But, there was no such meeting. Did Deccan Herald make a mistake or is BDA playing games?!

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