In the run-up to the next civic polls, scheduled for 2012, a performance assessment of the city’s corporators, on issues raised at ward committee meetings, showed that nearly a fifth of the questions asked by corporators related to trivial issues like renaming of roads.
Of the 1,382 questions asked by corporators in ward committee meetings, 258 were on renaming of roads. And the highest number of civic complaints filed by citizens were about bad roads.
More than 74,800 complaints relating to roads were filed.
These were the findings of a white paper released by the NGO, Praja Foundation, compiled from a database of information about corporators after filing Right to Information applications between January 2008 and November 2009.
“Surely the city has more pressing issues than the renaming of roads,” said Nitai Mehta, founder trustee, Praja Foundation.
There are 16 ward committees in the city, each comprising 8-11 lakh citizens.
There have been 463 ward committee meetings in the last 22 months. A ward committee reviews funds allotted for the development of a particular ward, and can sanction projects worth Rs 5 lakh.
Of the total of 227 corporators, 25 did not ask a single question, 109 asked less than five, and only 16 asked between 16 and 36.
Following complaints about roads, licences came in second, with 54,062 complaints. This was followed by water supply problems (52,501 complaints), drainage (33,973) and storm water drain management (26,726).
“The city’s infrastructure is crumbling, and our corporators are busying gaining political mileage by renaming roads,” said Dinanath Awadhe, a Malad resident. The data also showed that many corporators did not attend a single ward committee meeting.
“Ward committee meetings are the grassroot level of the administrative chain. It’s at these meetings that local issues need to be resolved. These meetings cannot be ignored,” Mehta added.