Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Quota for OBCs in ZPs to be reworked

The Hindu

Another ordinance restoring status quo ante to be sent to Governor

Number of seats set apart for OBCs in some ZPs has been reduced drastically. SEC issued a notification on Monday prescribing ward-wise reservation

Bangalore: The State Government, in view of the outcry by Opposition parties against the reduction of seats for other backward classes (OBCs) in zilla panchayats, has decided to issue another ordinance to restore the status quo ante on the number of seats set apart for them.

A meeting of the Cabinet on Tuesday decided to submit the ordinance to Governor H.R. Bhardwaj for approval, yielding to the demand of the Opposition, which has been crying foul about the move. The earlier ordinance was promulgated about a month ago, based on which the State Election Commission issued a notification on Monday highlighting the reservation of seats set apart for various categories: Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, OBCs and women.

Briefing presspersons on the decisions taken at the Cabinet meeting, Minister for Higher Education V.S. Acharya and Minister for Law and Parliamentary Affairs S. Suresh Kumar said the Government would opt for a fresh ordinance on Wednesday to maintain the existing reservation for OBCs (before the October 4, 2010 ordinance was issued). Consequently, the Karnataka Panchayat Raj Act will be amended in the next session of the State legislature.

What has upset the Opposition parties is the drastic reduction in the number of seats set apart for OBCs in some zilla panchayats. For instance, in the Raichur and Chitradurga zilla panchayats, the number of seats for OBCs had been reduced from 10 to two. In all, the ordinance had resulted in the number of seats for OBCs declining from 334 to 223, roughly working out to a 30 per cent reduction.

The existing ordinance and the notification issued by the State Election Commission based on it will be operative till the Governor decides to promulgate the fresh ordinance.

Dr. Acharya and Mr. Kumar said that keeping in mind the Supreme Court's order to limit the reservation to 50 per cent (for OBCs, SCs, and STs) the Government issued the first ordinance. But this had reduced the number of seats for OBCs. Apart from amending the Karnataka Panchayat Raj Act, the Government, if need be, would approach the Supreme Court to safeguard the interest of the OBCs, the Ministers said.


The State Election Commission on Monday issued a notification prescribing ward-wise reservation for various categories for the forthcoming zilla panchayat elections. The commission earlier issued a notification on October 18 determining the total number of seats reserved for different categories in each of the zilla and taluk panchayats.

Several leaders of the backward class, including president of the Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee G. Parameshwar, have taken exception to the reservation matrix, which has reduced the total number of seats reserved for the backward classes. With the Government deciding to opt for another ordinance to rectify the lapse, the preparations for the panchayat elections are likely to be delayed.

Karnataka okays second phase of Bangalore Metro:

Bangalore: The Karnataka government late on Tuesday approved the second phase of the Bangalore Metro project (51 km) at a cost of a whopping Rs.14,774 crore (Rs.147.74 billion).

'The cabinet has given approval for the second phase of the Namma Metro comprising 51 km at a cost of Rs.14,774 crore by the Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Ltd (BMRCL), which is executing the first phase of 42.5km at a cost of Rs.11,609 crore,' Higher Education Minister V.S. Acharya told reporters here.

The second phase will be built at five places across this tech hub, with the state government contributing Rs.6,395 crore as its share to the ambitious project.

The balance Rs.8,379 crore will be shared by the central government and the Japan Bank for International Cooperation through a long-term credit.

'The detailed project report has been submitted by the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation Ltd (DMRCL). The project cost has been revised from the estimated Rs.5,453 crore in 2005-06 due to overall increase in the cost of construction at the prevailing rates,' Acharya said after the cabinet meeting.

The second phase of the metro route will operate from Mysore Road to Kengeri (7.7km), Baiyappanahalli to International Technology Park Ltd (ITPL) at Whitefield (11.6km), Hesaraghatta to Bangalore International Exhibition Centre (BIEC) on Tumkur road (4.2km), Puttenahalli Cross to Anjanapura (6.7km) and from Indian Institute of Management (IIM) at Bannerghatta to Nagavara, a distance of 21.1km.

The first phase is under implementation by the state-run BMRCL, a special purpose vehicle floated by the state government with equity participation by the central government.

The state and central governments have 15 percent equity state each in the metro project.

The East-West corridor connecting Baiyappanahalli to Mysore Road terminal covers 18.1km and the North-South corridor from Hessaraghatta to Puttenahalli covers 23.7km.

The first phase is scheduled to be completed by September 2012. Out of the 42.3km, 8.8km will be underground near City Railway Station, Vidhana Soudha, Majestic and City Market and the rest will be elevated.

'The first reach between Baiyappanahalli and the Cricket Stadium on M G Road will be completed by December 2010. The second phase of the project will be taken up simultaneously with the first phase, Acharya added.

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