The BMC helpline number, 1916, saw a staggering 2.32 lakh complaints between April 2009 and March 2010 — more than 45 per cent of those came from citizens in the eastern suburbs, from Chembur to Shivaji Nagar.
“There is a definite neglect on the part of the BMC in this area,” said Dr Sandeep Rane of the Pestom Sagar Citizen’s Forum. Citizen’s groups between Bandra and Andheri are most active — these areas registered only 26,763 complaints.
While the BMC has claimed an 85 per cent redressal rate for citizen complaints, the ground reality looks a lot less encouraging.
“The BMC helpline is of no help. There is no accountability and no single officer responsible if the complaints are not addressed,” said Manav Sheth, a Kandivli resident, who has called the helpline several times and hung up dissatisfied.
Officially, when you dial 1916, a BMC employee is supposed to take your complaint, and give you with a number that you can use to follow the status of your complaint.
“The way the helpline is designed, complaints are registered under different categories, then transferred to different wards for further action,” said a BMC official requesting anonymity. The complaints are mostly about illegal construction, encroachment and maintenance-related issues of roads, missing manholes and damaged footpaths.
“The ward officer is responsible for acting on complaints of illegal construction and encroachment. After a complaint is filed, its validity is verified before it is sent for further action,” said Rajendra Bhonsale, deputy municipal commissioner (Special).
After from the helpline, the BMC, in August 2007, also began a service that allowed citizens to register civic complaints online, on its website www.mcgm.gov.in.
According to the BMC, Colaba, Cuffe Parade (A ward) and Malad (P-south) have achieved a 100 per cent redressal rate.
The rate for Matunga (F-north) is a poor 25 per cent, followed by Prabhadevi (G-south) with 41 per cent.
The worst performer is Zone 2, which consists of parts of Central Mumbai between Sion and Mahim, with a redressal rate of only 45 per cent.