BENGALURU: Urban populace and environmentalists who had opposed the Karnataka Urban Development Authorities (Amendment) Bill, 2016, can now heave a sigh of relief as Governor Vajubhai Vala has returned the bill. The bill seeks to reduce the spaces reserved for parks and playgrounds from 15 per cent to 10 per cent and civic amenity sites from 10 per cent to 5 per cent in layouts to be formed in future.
The bill which was passed by the state legislature amid protests from the opposition parties would cover about 250 small towns and cities across the state, except Bengaluru.
Bengaluru region is governed under the Karnataka Municipal Corporations Act, the Bangalore Development Authority Act, the Bangalore Metropolitan Region Development Authority Act, the Bangalore International Airport Planning Authority Act and the Bangalore-Mysore Infrastructure Corridor Planning
The bill had come under attack as the opposition and civic analysts had termed it as ‘Real Estate Bill’, to protect the interests of real estate developers and builders. Opposition leader in the Legislative Assembly Jagadish Shettar had written to Governor Vala requesting him to return the bill.According to sources, the Governor has sought a few clarifications on passing the bill without a meaningful debate in the legislature amid pandemonium. He also questioned the rationale to reduce the mandatory lung spaces in the new layouts to be developed amid environmental concerns raised by the civic associations.
In his letter Shettar had stated, “There is need to be aware of the increasing linkages between disappearing lung spaces in urban areas and proliferation of health risks to citizens in the form of increasing particulate pollution, the urban heat island effect that raises temperature levels and a resultant all-round decline in the quality of life. Only the builders lobby will gain from this.”
Governor’s rebuff not the first time
This is not the first time that Governor Vala has rebuffed the Siddaramaiah government in giving his consent for the bills passed in the legislature. It may be recalled that the Governor had also returned the Panchayat Raj Amendment Bill, which made voting mandatory in pancahayat polls. The Bill for the division of BBMP into two or more civic bodies was also meted out the same treatment from Raj Bhavan.
[Source:-The New Indian Express]