Patiala MC faces Herculean task in providing e-services | punjab$patiala | Hindustan Times
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Patiala MC faces Herculean task in providing e-services

The elections to four municipal corporations and 32 municipal councils and nagar parishads, which were earlier scheduled in August, are now expected to be held in December.

punjab Updated: Jul 13, 2017 14:41 IST
Navrajdeep Singh
The elections to four municipal corporations and 32 municipal councils and nagar parishads, which were earlier scheduled in August, are now expected to be held in December. 
The elections to four municipal corporations and 32 municipal councils and nagar parishads, which were earlier scheduled in August, are now expected to be held in December. (HT File )

The state government is planning to start online services before municipal corporation elections, but it is going to be a herculean task for the Patiala corporation to provide e-governance for its services. 

The elections to four municipal corporations and 32 municipal councils and nagar parishads, which were earlier scheduled in August, are now expected to be held in December. 

The Patiala MC has failed to start its online services, including the payment of property tax and approval of building plans and issuance of change of land use (CLU) certificates, despite repeated announcements in the past five years. On July 2, at a meeting with MLAs of four corporations — Patiala, Ludhiana, Amritsar and Jalandhar— Navjot Singh Sidhu, minister for local bodies, stated the e-services are needed to be put in place before corporation elections. 

 No full-fledged website 

In the past five years, the MC has failed to come up with a full-fledged website, which is one of the prerequisites to start online services. 

Though the MC has a registered website (www.mcpatiala.org), it primarily remains a source of information and is not interactive. The website, which was made for free by a private company, lists the history, public notices, directory and budget in separate links, but did not have any details about e-tendering, property tax and water supply and the sanitation department. 

The Patiala residents still have to go to the MC office or rely on newspapers to get any updated information about their taxes, besides general information. MC commissioner Gurpreet Singh Khaira said they are already planning to relaunch the website for the convenience of the people. 

“The IT cell was formed recently which will work upon the website of the civic body. For e-services, the decisions will be taken at the higher level,” Khaira said. 

 Property tax survey going at snail’s pace 

The survey to prepare database of property tax units is going at a snail’s pace. The private company, which has been outsourced to do a field survey, has so far screened around 22,000 commercial and residential units. 

There are tentatively around one lakh commercial and residential units under the municipal corporation’s jurisdiction. The MC aims at acquiring a proper database of commercial and residential properties situated in its jurisdiction to streamline property tax returns that will in turn ensure more revenue generation, besides helping to put property tax of each unit online 

“The company has been asked to submit a block-wise survey report so that it should be verified accordingly. Besides, it has been asked to speed up the work so that proper database is prepared at the earliest,” Khaira said. 

It may be mentioned that in 2015, a private company was allotted tenders to carry out the survey, but the company left the work in-between after the officials found its work unsatisfactory. 

The company claimed to have completed 90% of the survey, but gross negligence came to fore when the MC sent its teams to verify the data. Out of the 25 blocks under their jurisdiction, the company had submitted the record of six blocks only. It may be recalled that, during the cross-verification of the data of six blocks, the teams of the civic body found that the company had failed to cover each and every residential and commercial unit.