After a long period of neglect, the city’s citizen movement is all set to get a fillip. After forming a panel to revive the city’s Advanced Locality Managements (ALMs), the municipal corporation is now considering monetary incentives to encourage more such citizen efforts.
Hindustan Times recently reported how the civic body had formed a panel comprising civic officials and members of different ALMs to look into reviving such citizen groups.
Speaking to HT, a senior civic official said: “One of the issues this panel will look into will be a monetary incentive for the ALMs to function. This could be in the form of tax rebates or direct monetary aid.”
“We have been considering a monetary incentive for ALMs for a long time, but the problem is that monetary attraction for ALMs could invite political interference,” he added.
Rajkumar Sharma, from Diamond Garden ALM, one of the city's most active managements said: “The BMC should make it mandatory for societies to pay the ALM a certain amount every month. That way, the management is assured a fixed income to carry out their activities."
Despite the move to revive many of the 700-odd ALMs in the city, activists remain skeptical.
The civic body’s wavering attitude towards ALMs has been an issue concerning the citizens. Civic officials admit that the neglect during the past four years was because of the municipal body's attitude towards ALMs.
A senior official said: “Previously, senior civic officers weren't supportive of the idea of ALMs. Hence, the neglect.”
“We are like the illegitimate child of the BMC — born out of a moment of passion and excitement, forgotten, when the BMC realised it was a mistake," Sharma added.
“We should have separate guidelines for ALMs, so that the fortunes of ALMs don't depend on the whims of civic officers. We will have to ensure those guidelines are implemented," says Aftab Siddiqui, Chairperson, 33rd Road Khar ALM.
Some activists say these guidelines will be give ALMs a fixed mandate, which will ensure focus on issues.
B.P. Patil, Chief Engineer, Solid Waste Management is optimistic that ALMs will be revived with concrete efforts. "The BMC is determined to ensure the ALM movement is revived so that citizen participation is ensured."
“Currently, what happens is that ALMs want to raise their voice on every civic issue, whereas originally the ALMs were meant to spearhead waste segregation in their localities. As a result, most ALMs do not segregate,” said Seema Redkar, BMC’s Officer on Special Duty for ALMs.