RESIDENTS MAKING property and water tax payments were issued handwritten receipts on Tuesday even as the Indore Municipal Corporation (IMC) struggled to fill in the mechanistic gaps after computer contractor M/s Oswal Data packed up its bags and left.
The firm’s successor, M/s Elbiz Systems, which was awarded the Rs 2.5 crore e-governance contract by the Corporation on November 23, is yet to commence operations owing to insufficient computers and unverified data.
Although the Corporation has rented 20 computers from a private firm @ Rs 800 per month, sources said it would be at least a month before a fully functional e-governance system was in place.
“Data pertaining to property and water tax billings as well as building permission and other records will be handed over to the new firm only after verification and the process is likely to take at least one month,” revealed a Revenue Department official.
Others, though, maintained that the verification exercise was only an excuse and the real reason was that revenue officials needed time to destroy evidence of alleged irregularities in building permission and other records.
Additional Municipal Commissioner (Revenue) K R Jain dismissed the charges. “How can we hand over the data to the new contractor without scrutiny? The verification will naturally take time as the data is voluminous,” he pointed out.
Jain, however, asserted that the fully computerised municipal e-governance system comprising 24 modules would be in place latest by the beginning of next month.
“Eighty IBM computers, costing Rs 28,000 apiece, have been ordered from the Directorate General of Supplies & Disposal (DGS&D) in addition to laser printers costing Rs 7,000 each. Just today we received seven computers and 10 printers and we expect to have all the required machinery by month-end,” he informed.
But isn’t one month too long? “That depends. The State Bank Of India (SBI) took three months to transfer data and, in the meantime, all banking operations were carried out manually. Compared to this the IMC is working at a very fast clip,’’ concluded Jain.