Bengaluru, Nov 30: How powerful an MLA can be when we are talking about metro cities such as Bengaluru? An MLA in Bengaluru has lots of limitations, said BJP MLA Ravi Subramanya while speaking to Oneindia.
56-year-old Subramanya represents Basavanagudi, a residential and commercial locality in South Bengaluru with total six wards. While BJP rules the four wards, remaining two wards are ruled by Congress and JDS.
Subramanya believes that an MLA at rural area might have more says than an MLA in cities. While MLAs in rural areas can monitor and administer work related to rural development, health, education, PWD works, drought or flood relief works, the business of revenue collections, MLAs in cities find them in isolation, stated Subramanya.
Hurdles faced by an MLA in Bengaluru:
"I am not a master, neither a servant to anyone," said Subramanya while speaking about his hurdles while performing the role of a legislative. And the torments increased when the MLA belongs to the opposition party and not the ruling party.
"Nobody has defined the role of Bengaluru MLA. Bengaluru City has 28 MLAs, however, no one has written their job description. Bengaluru Development Authority (BDA) develops the city and City Corporation -- BBMP is designed and configured to take care of the maintenance part," told Subramanya reiterating that role of an MLA in Bengaluru is confined within a small circle.
Subramanya's biggest pilot project for Bengaluru:
To begin with, the MLA took pride in explaining how he was instrumental in bringing BWSSB's pilot project to his area 2010. The then BJP government sanctioned Rs 30 crore fund to the project which aims at separating storm water lines from sewerage lines.
The MLA informed that the project was completed at several areas and work has been under progress at many other places such as Girinagar, Chennammana Kere Achuukattu, Vidyapeetha, Srinagar, Katriguppe and Hanumanthanagar localities. The MLA assured that he will complete the projects in another 5-6 months.
However, the MLA also informed that 40-50 years old lines have been disconnected and new DI pipes have been commissioned for main lines and nylon pipes to connect main line to at least 20,000 houses for supply of Cauvery water. Water pilfirages and illegal water connections arrested to a large extent he said.
Subramanya's plans to promote education:
"I am laying special stress on upgrading government schools, primary to higher," Subramanya told Oneindia.
"Yes, we can't provide Power Point Presentations, swimming pools, but quality uniforms, learning kits and basic amenities will be given to government school children," he informed.
When questioned about securities of children in schools, Subramanya informed that he will install CCTV cameras in all government schools to provide full securities to children.
The MLA currently has been focusing on 7 schools in Sunkena Halli, Gavipura Guttahalli, N R Colony, Katriguppe and Basvanagudi. His main aim is to support kids from economically weaker sections.
The MLA invested Rs 1.5 crore collecting money from his MLA fund and other donors to develop a government school in Gavipuram. He asserted that he wants to develop the schools in such a way that maid servants, auto drivers, tinkers, cobblers should feel proud sending their kids to schools managed by Government or City Corporation.
BDA and BBMP reign in Bengaluru:
The MLA thinks that roads like KR Road, 50ft road in Hanumanthmnagar and Katriguppe main road needs expansions. He wants to clean the mess in Vidya peetha circle also. But he cannot take his decisions all alone as the the final decision will be taken by BDA and the Government of Karnataka.
"There are several areas where an MLA can take initiatives to development his/her constituency. But, the entire Bengaluru is controlled and managed by 'Standing Committees' in BBMP," said Subramanya. These "Standing Committees" and councilors take all decisions for all constituencies represented by the MLAs.
Corruption has already weakened the system:
"Corruption has engulfed the entire Bengaluru system. Violation of norms for approving plans for building constructions, fake occupancy certificates, property tax evasions have become a daily routine in the tech city. It has reached such a hopeless stage, unless you pay that 'something', it's impossible to do 'anything'," lamented Subramanya.
All small and medium size contractors have been refusing to take any contracts from BBMP as they are disappointed with the corrupt system, said the MLA.
Subramanya said, "It is impossible for the contractors to pay sales tax, income tax and other taxes and make some money for themselves. Delayed payments for the job executed is another problem for contractors who have to cuff up interest money on their investments."
What can be done to get rid of corruption?
The MLA suggested for bailing out from the corruption and debt-ridden BBMP. He also asserted that the government should change whole set of rules and bring fresh blood in the corridors of administration.
"MLAs and ministers must discuss Bengaluru issues on the floor of the Assembly. Unfortunately, we rarely discuss such issues in Karnataka assembly," lamented Subramanya.
However, the MLA met Speaker Kagodu Thimmappa on Nov 25 and expressed his desire to discuss Bengaluru matters in the upcoming winter assembly session which is scheduled to be held in Belagavi from Dec 9.
Subramanya also claimed that all MLAs and Councillors should work together as a team to develop each constituencies in the city.
Subramanya's most ambitious project -- Basavanagudi Heritage Corridor:
The MLA's most ambitious project is to create "Basavanagudi Heritage Corridor". Basavanagudi along with Malleshwaram is the oldest colony in Bengaluru. His plan is to bring oldest, famous, historical places of worship under one loop to encourage tourism.
He aims to mobilize funds to develop temple, temple compounds under the heritage corridor. The temples which he aims to take under the project are -- Anjaneya Temple on Temple road in Gandhi Bazzar, Ganesha and Bull Temple on Bull temple Road, Harohara - Subramanya Temple, Ramanjaneya Temple on 50ft Road Hanumanthanagar, 700-year-old Gavi Gangadhareshwara Temple in Gutta Halli.
Bengaluru, no more a lake city?
The Kempambhudi lake, which was built by the King of Bengaluru, Kempe Gowda, once was the biggest lake spread on 44 acres of land. However, now it has reduced to 5-6 acres. Over the decades lake encroachment has taken the toll in the city.Security guards now have been deployed at the site to take care of the existing lake.
"The city should not lose it's original identity, particularly in old settlements like Basavanagudi," asserted the MLA. Basavanagudi is the cultural hub of the city where people like journalist and scholar DV Gundappa, Gnan peeth award winner Maasti Venkatesha Iyengar, Dr Nissar Ahamed, Aa Na Krishna Rao, P Lankesh and host of Kannada writers, musicians and other cultural icons used to live.
The MLA said he would soon meet South Bengaluru MP and minister Anatha Kumar in New Delhi. The minister invited the MLA to discuss his plan to work out modalities to establish Heritage Corridor under India Tourism plan.
Subramanya, not only a politician but a music lover too:
MBA graduate Ravi Subramanya won from Basavanagudi segment for two consecutive times in 2008 and 2013. He had defeated Congress nominee, ex-mayor K Chandrashekher in 2008 elections. It was a comfortable victory but the electoral battle and the campaign took curious turns in May 2013 elections with the entry of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP).
However, Ravi romped home defeating nearest rival JDS- Janatha Dal (Secular) candidate Bage Gowda by over 19,000 votes. Prof B K Chandrashekhar, INC, stood third.
Speaking about his life as an MLA, Subramanya said, "all my hobbies and pastimes have gone for a six in the humdrum of politics, no time left whatsoever to take a break."
Basically an agriculturist, the MLA has lands, ancestral property in Chikmagaluru. A full time politician, the MLA has a massive plans for farming. Despite having tremendous work pressure, Subramanya aims to spend at least a day or two in a week at his farmhouse.