Bengaluru: If you want to volunteer to supervise the maintenance of a lake or park you often visit, you can enrol in a new programme launched by the BBMP.
The civic body has invited citizens to apply for its ‘kere’ and ‘hasiru mitra’ programme on its website. The deadline to apply is October 30, giving a limited window for applications.
Deputy Chief Minister and Bengaluru Development Minister D K Shivakumar announced the new programme under the ‘Brand Bengaluru’ campaign earlier this month. He emphasized that the programme is exclusively for ordinary citizens, excluding party workers with direct access to authorities.
The registration form provided on the BBMP website seeks details such as name, phone number, email ID, residential address, copy of the voter ID, name of the ward, and the preferred lake or park from the interested volunteers. Lakes such as Varthur and Bellandur are not on the list as they come under the Bengaluru Development Authority (BDA).
BBMP’s Special Commissioner for Parks and Lakes, Preeti Gehlot, noted that the programme covers over 1,200 parks and 200 lakes. “It will purely be a volunteer service. We will not be signing a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the selected citizens. That’s a separate programme,” she said.
While the MoU permitted citizens to solicit CSR funds, it sparked controversy when challenged in the high court.
The BBMP’s circular states that citizens can monitor the maintenance activities in lakes and parks on a regular basis, thereby helping the civic body provide better services and understanding of citizens’ requirements. The civic body generously spends on lake and park maintenance, but there has been no second layer of scrutiny other than the engineers.
Some have complained that the BBMP website did not display all lakes and parks. They also noted that some wards were absent from the drop-down menu.
Prof K S Bhat, the managing trustee of Sarakki Lake Improvement Trust, said a similar concept, called lake warden, had existed five years ago, but the BBMP did not take cognizance of their observations.
“Calling for registrations is not enough. The question is will the BBMP be able to attend to complaints raised by the volunteers quickly and honestly,” he asked.
(Published 21 October 2023, 21:14 IST)