Team Anna plans watchdog panels

Anna in Ramlila Maidan
MUMBAI: Team Anna will form watchdog committees for each of the 227 wards for the February 2012 civic elections here.

The India Against Corruption (IAC) nagrik samitis will comprise activists and citizens from the area.

They will create awareness among citizens during the elections. There are 35 polling booths in each ward and two persons from each polling booth will get together to form the samitis; already 124 samitis have been created.

'Meet your candidate' sessions will be organized 10 days before the civic elections, where all candidates will be brought to a common platform and they will be give a citizens' manifesto which will contain demands of local residents.

"It will demand inclusion by the elected corporator in discussions regarding civic budgets, expend- iture, funds and priorities regarding development of that area. We will prepare comparative statements of all candidates and make them public. We will also demand that no payments for civic work be passed without the approval of a civil engineering firm nominated by the samitis," said Mayank Gandhi, chief coordinator, IAC, Mumbai.

The samitis hope to draw maximum voters to the booths on election day.

On whether the method would be autocratic, and whether corporators would willingly discuss civic expenditure with the samitis, Gandhi said, "They have to, as we are taxpaying citizens. It's only a pressure tactic. It will enable control and monitoring of civic expenditure which lead to poor workmanship and corruption."

After the civic elections, the samitis will call for periodic meetings between corporators and ward officers and seek accountability of expenditure and priorities for development of the ward.

"Each samiti will have more than 50% youth and women representatives," said Gandhi

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