What Civic Bodies Discuss
Anger, emotion and playing to 'the gallery are the charac-
teristics of the debates in civic bodies, on account of, among other
things, lack of aptitude of the elected councillor for the civic
tasks, and his seeming lack of interest in these.
Bombay's councillors, faced with a disastrous water scarcity,
found time to debate U. S. bombing in North Viet Nam, the
devaluation of currency ordered by the Union Government and
the Central Government's proposal to enact Public Security
Acts, which would give wide powers to Chief Ministers in the
States. The Opposition group in Bombay Corporation staged
a five-minute walk-out when a motion to adjourn the House
for the whole day to protest against the U. S. bombings in
North Viet Nam was lost. A special meeting of the
Bombay Corporation was convened at the instance of the
Opposition members to discuss a resolution saying that devalua-
tion had adversely affected the country, and suggesting that the
way to tide over the crisis was to throw off the Congress regime.
An adjournment motion was moved by the Opposition leader in
Bombay Corporation condemning the proposed enactment of
Public Security Acts. Mr. George Fernandes, leader of SSP,
pointed out that the Government wanted to curb the agitations
against the soaring prices after devaluation. The step was to
curtail civil liberties and in the name of democracy to establish
a disctatorial State.
None of the subjects discussed by the Bombay Corporation
come within the purview of the Corporation, and recall the
pre-1947 days when the Congress and other anti-British parties
sought to make use of the forum of the civic bodies for building.
up agitation against the Government.
Delhi Corporation's Hindi Committee on July 28 resolved
unanimously that the Corporation switch over to Hindi from
January 26, 1967. The Committee said that exception could be
made in the case of correspondence with allopathic hospitals
and dispensaries and technical departments. Three councillors
staged a walk-out saying that Hindi was being ignored and the
Committee had not met for five months. By another resolution
the Committee said the decision to make Urdu the second lang-
uage should be implemented soon. The Commissioner was
requested to give Punjabi its due place in the Corporation.