‘Ward panels should ensure democracy works for all’

Director of Centre for Development and Education, Mangaluru, Rita Noronha has said that ward committees proposed to be set up in the city should have a vision for making Mangaluru a healthy and inclusive city.

Participating in the fifth city politics webinar on “Decoding Ward Committees for citizens of Mangaluru” organised by Janaagraha Centre for Citizenship and Democracy here on Wednesday, Ms. Noronha said that the ward committees should have concern for social justice and ensure that democracy works for all. Voices from all communities should be heard and none should be excluded for want of economic and political resources.

Ajoy D’Silva from the MCC Civic WhatsApp Group said that the ward committees will have to function in the true spirit of the 74th amendment of the Constitution.

They should follow up on development plans, their implementation, the quality of work delivered and funds utilised.

The ward committees should be watchdogs and hold councillors accountable.

Expressing her interest in becoming a ward committee member, senior advocate Asha Nayak said that accountability, transparency and management of ward committees are the key for the smooth functioning of the Mangaluru City Corporation Council.

Nagarika Shakti president Narendra Kumar said that his organisation is trying to bring more people into ward committees.

Citizens Voluntary Initiative for the City of Bangalore executive trustee Kathyayini Chamaraj said that ward committee members should be thorough on how things function and must be fully aware that they have the right to appeal in a High Court in case requisitions are unheard.

Head, Civic Participation at Janaagraha, Srinivas Alavilli, said that the time has come for people in Mangaluru to stand up and be counted. Janaagraha is committed to supporting Mangaluru as it begins its journey in participatory local governance, he said.

Activists G.K. Bhat, Gerard Towers and Padmanabha Ullal and Head (Civic Participation) of Janaagraha Sapna Karim also spoke.

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