Civic Apathy: Bengalureans turn deaf ears on BBMP’s plea for suggestions for 2020-21 budget

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BENGALURU: Two days after BBMP sought suggestions from citizens, Resident Welfare Associations (RWAs) and institutions for its 2020-2021 budget, not a single communication has reached the civic agency.

While residents and citizen-activists claimed they didn’t know such a notice was issued and saw a plot in it being tucked away in some corners, BBMP officials said the poor response should be viewed in the light of complaints that they never indulge in public consultations.

The ideas can be submitted on the BBMP website or dropped in suggestion boxes placed at the Palike headquarters. March 20 is the last date to respond.

“Last year, we hadn’t issued the advertisement properly but this time we did it well in advance and gave people five days to respond. It’s the third day today and we haven’t got any suggestion,” a senior BBMP official said on Wednesday afternoon.

However, citizen-activists faulted BBMP for sticking to a single mode of publicity, which fails to grab eyeballs. Wondering why the notice never made it to any of the Palike’s social media handles, they pointed out that the BBMP commissioner and mayor have 42,000 and 58,000 followers on Twitter, respectively.

Unni Krishnan, a resident of Jalahalli, said he didn’t know about the notice until somebody informed him. “BBMP puts out a small ad in a newspaper but most people’s focus is on the news,” he said, adding: “The agency should display these notifications in public spaces frequented by people. Also, public consultations about budget preparation should be held in every ward.”

Vishnu Prasad, member of Bellandur Development Forum, said: “The civic body doesn’t want to give better publicity to such things as it’s afraid of our suggestions.”

“The agency should focus on bringing about a transparent process, wherein everyone knows what’s happening in the corporation,” said Kavitha Reddy, a resident of HSR Layout.

However, BBMP commissioner BH Anil Kumar said: “We have done our best to publicise the issue. People need to be more interested in it instead of complaining.”

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