How much time should a civic body, which has a budget of around Rs33,000 crore for a year, take to stop the contaminated water coming to your kitchen tap? The answer is 87 days.
The time limit and the seriousness of the issue notwithstanding, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) took 87 days to address a complaint on water contamination (S ward), 32 days to fix drainage or blockages (L ward)and 50 days to install a dustbin (D ward) in 2014, a survey by a non-profit organisation, Praja Foundation, has revealed.
The report, Working of ward committee in the city of Mumbai and civic problems registered by citizens in January 2012 to December 2014, has revealed the maximum number of complaints (21,847) last year were on the poor state of roads in the city, followed by illegal and dilapidated buildings at 17,339. Occupying the third position were drainage-related complaints at 9,394, followed by water supply (7,645) and solid waste management (7,331).
The increase in the budget each year – from Rs31,174 crore in 2014-15 to Rs33,514 crore in 2015-16 – too seems to be making no difference. Of the 80,490 civic complaints registered across the 24 wards in 2014, the BMC has closed only 35%.
On an average, the BMC took 17 days to solve a complaint, much higher than the three days recommended in the citizens’ charter.
What makes it worse is that your elected representative, too, doesn’t question the authorities on the reason behind the delay, raising only three questions in each meeting.
According to the report, 27 corporators have not asked even one question last year, while 133 corporators have asked only 1-5 questions in the year. Of the 227 corporators, only 20 have asked more than 10 questions.
The facts and figures only underscore the need to implement the Right to Services
Act, which would ensure each service is delivered within a timeframe and strict action is taken against those responsible for the delay.
Nitai Mehta, founder and managing trustee, Praja Foundation, said, “With every year, the data on the functioning of the civic body only gets more startling. The CM recently said Mumbai should become an international finance centre to attract global investments, jobs and development. How can this be achieved if basic services are being neglected time and again and there is no political will to take the administration to task?”
While the corporators don’t ask many questions, the ones that are raised, too, go unanswered. Of the 724 questions raised on urgent basis in ward committee meetings in 2014, the administration answered only 350 (48%) questions.