At a time, when the Punjab government is claiming to put all public services online to make operations transparent to check corruption, the municipal corporation here has failed to launch its website.
On the map of e-governance, the MC remains untraceable till date. The MC for the last eight years has been claiming that the website will be made available very soon. And the latest promise was from the incumbent municipal commissioner PS Gill who, in September 2013, had said that the MC would launch its website in the next two months.
However, despite having a registered domain, the civic body's website seems like a distanced dream.
According to the information available all the e-tenders of the civic body are uploaded on the Punjab government’s website.
Almost all other municipal corporations, including some smaller municipal committees, have their own websites, where they provide needful information to residents.
While residents of a majority of the cities in Punjab have web access to all the information related to developments, public notices, directory, budget, advertisements and other queries being carried out in their area, residents of Patiala are still deprived of the facility.
Apart from that, the Right to Information Act suggests that every civic body must make public disclosures on their websites.
In cities like Jalandhar and Ludhiana, the MCs have started public interface through the websites and even started receiving payments from the online mode.
Sources from the department revealed that during the previous mayor Ajitpal Kohli's tenure, it was announced that a website would be launched that would enable functioning of all the branches of Patiala MC through an online system and it would also facilitate the city residents as they would be able to deposit their house tax, water and sewerage bills and other taxes, sitting anywhere in the world merely by just a mouse click.
"Bureaucracy doesn't want to bring transparency and make services online. They want to keep powers within themselves, because if they opened online services the scope of corruption will be reduced," said Dr Rajesh Kumar, a resident of Bhadson Road.
He said that the idea of deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal to bring services of all essential works online, will not only check corruption but will also reduce public hardships. However, the MC is scuttling the prime project of the government, he added.
When contacted, municipal commissioner PS Gill admitted the delay in launching the website. "In fact, the project has been allotted to Thapar University’s IT department students, but the MC failed to provide the information as most of the staff was busy in elections."
"I assure you that the website would be put in place within one-and-a-half months”, he promised.
He said that the MC is committed to provide online services to the public, as committed by the Punjab government.