Friday, August 03, 2007

PRAJA bangalore, a citizen’s network

It seeks to be a networking platform for concerned Bangaloreans;it's an attempt to bridge those who serve the city (municipalities and development boards) and those who care, and wish to participate (residents).

The other day I heard a spirited Mysorean, who has signed public petitions and joined deputations complaining that their petitions go unread by officials(who say,“we have no time”); and that MLAs don't find enough time to pursue their own priorities and agenda. Praja Bangalore works on the premise that this can’t be said about all officials and MLAs; and that there are still enough of them, MLAs and officials, who care; and can do with public feedback. Their task can be made easier with more people participation.

Of course, there are NGOs that carry public grievances to the civic authorities. But a citizen networking on the lines of Praja Bangalore would in no way minimize their role or compete with NGOs;it would complement the work of NGOs. Besides, it gives officials a wider perspective on issues and concerns of the people. Praja’s agenda, articulated in its ‘About Us’ page speaks of the scope and structure of the online initiative at citizens networking.

It is an initiative worthy of emulation. My thoughts are that it may not be worthwhile reinventing such website for Mysore; not now, at any rate. Because, Mysore has relatively low broadband density (5000 connections, according to some estimates) and lower web browsing public. But those of us who are familiar with the potential of the web would benefit, if only Praja Bangalore could be persuaded to open a Mysore page on their site. This way, we can count on networking the small, but significant, section of the Internet-connected Mysoreans, but also on the input and networking support of a sizeable number of Bangalore-based folk with strong Mysore connection.

6 comments:

shastri said...

Dear GVK,
I am one of the admins of Praja Bangalore and we are really thankful for your encouraging words.
You are also absolutely right on Praja filling the gap that is left by NGOs and Govt bodies.
Praja has been built with a vision to scale up and ability to have chapters for each of the cities. It was natural for us to start with Bangalore for obvious reasons of internet penetrations and critical mass online. We are surely open for a Mysore chapter if there are enough interested folks.
At this point I request you to register on the bangalore site (you can choose Mysore as your city during the registration). You can also invite other like minded folks and we can take this initiative to the next level. Get in tough with us at 'admin at praja dot in'.
-Shastri

Silkboard said...

Dear GVK, thanks for the encouraging words. We already have sites ready to go for other cities like Mysore, Pune etc. We opened up Bangalore to start with, the idea was to perfect the site and see the interest level.

We were planning to round up content contributors and concerned netizens of Mysore. If you can help us do that, not only will that be great, but we can get started with mysore.praja.in sooner than we had planned.

GVK said...

Nice hearing from you, Shastri and Silkboard. As I mentioned there are lots of Bangalore-based Mysore-connected folks from whom I used to hear when we were running MyMysore dot com (now folded up). Thought it would be a good idea if Praja Bangalore could give a link to this post for the benefit of your visitors with Mysore connection.

Bhamy V Shenoy said...

Mysore may not reach the critical mass given the small number of connected people. It will be better to have a page on BLR Praja itself.

If it develops then we can migrate to a separate Mysore site.

Guru said...

Sorry being a bit negative about Praja Bangalore. Even with a 'critical mass on line' it will still be a middle class cyber enthusiast's medium, and it is not clear what its attitude is towards that large mass of 'unconnected people'in Bangalore. Will it champion their causes and in what ways? It is also clear in what ways it will 'fill the gap that is left by NGOs and Govt bodies'. People like me living in the West finds the inforamtion on this site a good read, but surely it is meant to be more serious in local terms.

Gouri said...

Dear GVK,
Though your suggestion of Praja Mysore is welcome, I feel it will be one more NGO (web-based) in Mysore, as there are already a couple of organisations working here. Besides, we all know what happened to MyMysore launched by you with a similar intention. What actually needed in this fast expanding city is a concerted efforts to consolidate opinion on various problems and take them directly to the local level authorities and subsequent follow up for resolving them. For such a consolidation of opinion, I feel we need an united effort at the local level, instead of an internet based one. I wonder how far a blog or website with limited networking can help the cause.