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Social electioneering signs in

Think MCD or its councillors and the first thing that comes to your mind is dirty old rooms filled with bulky registers containing thousands of complaints and queries of residents and paan-chewing netas with secretaries in safari suits to take care of their tech needs. While it is not completely untrue, all that is not far from becoming history.

delhi Updated: Mar 23, 2012 02:49 IST
Neelam Pandey

Think MCD or its councillors and the first thing that comes to your mind is dirty old rooms filled with bulky registers containing thousands of complaints and queries of residents and paan-chewing netas with secretaries in safari suits to take care of their tech needs. While it is not completely untrue, all that is not far from becoming history.

Technology is ushering in a slow but steady makeover with a number of both tech-savvy and tech-shy councillors, and even the MCD, taking to IT in a big way to connect with http://www.hindustantimes.com/Images/Popup/2012/3/23_03-pg_05a.jpgthe people and address civic problems.

Aware of the fact that people no longer have the time to visit MCD offices, a number of councillors are using social networking sites that offer a good platform to reach out.

Even the MCD has realised the importance of networking sites. It launched a dedicated page on Facebook last year, asking people to post complaints related to sanitation and cleanliness. Around 6,960 people have liked the page and have been posting videos and pictures of ill-maintained garbage stations.

Apart from the civic body, a number of councillors such as Mayor Rajni Abbi, chairman of MCD’s Standing Committee Yogender Chandolia, chairman of Works Committee Jagdish Mamgain, BJP councillor Narender Bindal among others have been quite active online.

Taking a cue from the MCD page, councillor Manjinder Singh Sirsa has launched a page for his ward, Punjabi Bagh.

“People no longer have the time to visit offices. I realised social networking sites is one of the best ways to interact with people. The posted complaints become a record in itself and if we do not take action, we are constantly reminded about it. Our engineers and sanitation staff also know they have no choice but to act,” said Sirsa.

Others feel using the online medium increases transparency as everything – pictures, videos or complaints -- posted on the site is there for everyone to see.

“It is not merely restricted to posting complaints. If residents need to get information on civic issues or if they want to discuss any matter, the online platform becomes quite handy. One can interact with others even while travelling,” said Jagdish Mamgain, chairman of MCD’s Works Committee.

Residents are happy as they no longer have to make a beeline outside the councillors offices.

“We can simply register our complaints online and we have a record of when we filed the complaint,” said Ramesh Sharma, a resident of Munirka.

General secretary of the New Rajinder Nagar residents’ welfare association, DM Narang, had similar views. “We regularly post our complaints on the MCD page. It is a good way to keep in touch with councillors,” he said.

http://www.hindustantimes.com/Images/Popup/2012/3/23_03-pg_05b.jpghttp://www.hindustantimes.com/Images/Popup/2012/3/23_03-pg_06a.jpg