Citizens are fed up with the civic body and believe the main reason the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is doing such a shoddy job is the deep-rooted nexus between corporators, civic officials and contractors.
The Hindustan Times-C Fore survey shows that 52% of the respondents blame this unholy nexus for the city’s civic problems. While 25% hold the BMC officials responsible for the civic mess, 21% blame corporators.
Over the past year, HT has repeatedly highlighted how the BMC is handing out road and water projects to cartels, how it is lackadaisical about monitoring the work of its favoured contractors, how it fails to blacklist contractors for shoddy work and, on the whole, how callous it is about spending the taxpayers’ money.
While citizens blame the Sena-BJP combine, which has been running the show for the past 15 years, they have not given a clean chit to the state government either.
At least 68% of the respondents said the state government is not doing enough for the city.
“The survey reveals a declining political culture and its impact on governance of a local body. People are questioning the state’s will to transform the city as Mumbai has not been its agenda,” said B Venkatesh Kumar, political analyst.
Citizen activist Ashok Rawat said the solution may be for Mumbaiites to group themselves and demand collective accountability at ward levels. “But political parties are not keen on urban reforms and legislations mandatory under the 74th amendment, which can lay down a framework for greater citizen participation and therefore accountability in the system,” he said.
Majority of the Mumbaiites surveyed – 43% – feel the Sena’s executive president, Uddhav Thackeray, calls the shots in the BMC and not municipal commissioner Subodh Kumar. While 29% said Mayor Shraddha Jadhav controls the BMC the most, only 28% respondents felt Kumar has control.
Sources in the BMC said that despite Kumar’s no-nonsense attitude he had failed to make a mark with the layperson as he does not handle issues such as bad roads, cleaning of nullahs or water contamination.
In turn, Uddhav Thackeray may be facing flak even for the failure of the civic administration.
The survey also revealed that perception among citizens about developers continues to be poor, with 41% labelling the BMC’s buildings proposal department as the most corrupt, followed by the water department at 23% and the roads department at 21%.
Citizens have, however, given the BMC the credit for minimising floods in the city, with 41% of saying they are happy with the way the BMC has handled it.