Though the Kotkapura town was upgraded as tehsil just days before the announcement of the assembly elections in February 2012, it has failed to provide satisfactory services through the Suwidha (single user friendly window disposal and helpline for applicants) centre on the premises of the tehsil complex.
Kotkapura tehsil caters to the needs of the town and many other villages attached to it.
The people allege that the suwidha centre at Kotkapura has turned out to be an inconvenience for the nearly two lakh population of the tehsil as after it has been accorded the status of the tehsil, many services have been started to be provided here.
"The suwidha centre at Kotkapura has been running from a store-like building with a single room. There is no facility for the people who visit to get services here. There are no benches, no facility for drinking water and even there is shortage of space for standing in a queue," said Jaipal Garg, a member of the district grievances committee, Faridkot, who has also raised the issue in two meetings of the public district grievances committee.
"There are only two counters at the suwidha centre in Kotkapura meant to provide all kinds of services, including taking photographs while there are 12 counters for different services at Faridkot which is also a tehsil at the district level. One wastes all the day standing in the queue," Garg alleged.
"The two window system to provide so many services at the tehsil level is only eyewash. Ironically, there are no separate counters for the delivery and receiving the forms or applications. One has to stand in a queue all the time waiting for his turn even if he wants to enquire about the delivery of his service and when his turn comes, he may come to learn that it is not ready and he may have to come some other day. If delivery, reception and enquiry counters are separate, one may not have to waste time," said a typist in the complex.
"This is sheer injustice to the consumers. If they are charging full service charges on par with Faridkot where there are 12 counters, proper sitting arrangements and fully AC building, then why all the facilities are not being provided here," Jaipal Garg said.
The people also want the files or application forms which are sold at four to five times more in suwidha centres, are available at much lower rates in the open market and the people should be allowed to buy them as per the specimens from outside to stopping their exploitation.
"I visited the place for a second time after Tuesday for some work, but I have been told that due to some software problem at the head office, it is not available," said Parveen Kumar from Kotkapura.
"The service is temporarily out of order due to the software problem at the head office. As soon as the problem is solved, we will start providing all services," said Kotkapura SDM Harjeet Singh Sandhu.
"I am aware of the problem and trying to make more counters operational but some funds are required for the purpose. The problems of the locals would be solved by opening some other counters as demanded," said deputy commissioner Mohammad Tayyab.