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How Bangalore got its sites

Way back in the Bangalore of the 1860s, residential sites were created and auctioned to the public to relieve congestion in the main town. The city's population then was a little over 36,000


IN MAY 1862, the Town Municipality of Bangalore was constituted on a statutory basis under Act No: XXVI of 1850 with an annual fund of Rs. 21,681.

The committee was composed of two European officials, four "native" officials and four non-officials. The Assistant Superintendent of Bangalore division was the President, and the Head Sheristedar in the Commissioner's office was the Vice-President of the Municipal Board.

The Board used to meet once or twice a week and discuss matters on the city's sanitation and its improvement. The conservancy staff was placed under its control. The population of the city during 1862-63 was 36,302!

The first task undertaken by the Municipal Board was to level the old ramparts which surrounded the town and filling up the moat. With the object of relieving congestion in the town, Captain Cole, the President of the Board, in 1862 inaugurated a scheme by which the municipal property west of Dharmambudhi tank was converted into sites for residential purpose and sold in a public auction. But as the price was beyond the reach of the common man, those with deep pockets purchased these sites for speculation.

At the instance of the municipal authorities, the owners of the shops in the main street voluntarily undertook the expense of reconstructing their shop front in accordance with a uniform plan during 1866-67. Measures were also taken to install kerosene lamps on principal streets.

On August 1, 1862 a Municipal Committee was established in Bangalore Cantonment with Rs. 37,509 allotted as fund for the year. The committee comprised a European official, three non-European officials, two "native" officials and one native non-official. The Superintendent of Police was the President and official members included Naib Seristadar and Sur Ameen, while non-officials consisted of a Muslim and three others. The population of the Cantonment in 1863 was 57,193.

The Municipal Councillors of Bangalore recommended to Bowring, the then Chief Commissioner of the State, that the President should be a non-official who would be able to devote all his time and labour to the work of the municipality. Hence at the end of 1870, the Municipal Regulation Act of 1871 was introduced, under which the Board of Bangalore Town and Cantonment Municipality were placed under one executive officer, J.H. Orr. He took charge of the office of President of Bangalore Town Municipality on April 3, 1871.

Though Bangalore town and the Cantonment had separate municipal bodies, they had a common President in Dr. Orr. The funds were kept separate and each municipality had its own establishment, though both were governed under the regulation of 1871. At times, however, when policies had to be framed, which affected the interest of both the town and cantonment, the municipalities assembled together, discussed matters and took decisions according to majority. For the purpose of carrying out the municipal regulation, the town of Bangalore was divided into three divisions namely Balepet, Manavarthpet and Halasurpet. Each division had two Municipal Councillors. The ex-officio members were the Deputy Commissioner of Bangalore district, the Amildar of Bangalore, the Executive Engineer of Nandidurg division, the Commissary of Ordnance and the Surgeon to the Mysore Commissioner.

The civil and military station consisted of the following six divisions:

1. Halasur division

2. Southern division

3. East General Bazaar division

4. West General Bazaar division

5. Cleveland Town division

6. High Ground division.

S. SRINIVAS

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