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PMC budget jumps 1K times in 159 years, but problems still abound

Apr 24, 2023 12:59 AM IST

The PMC budget has risen many times since its inception and area under it has also grown significantly. However, residents of the city, especially those in old localities, are still struggling for clean potable water, a reliable sewage system and freedom from the problems of water logging during monsoon, says corporator Kamlesh Singh

PRAYAGRAJ: Back in 1864, the British implemented the Municipal Act in the then Allahabad (now Prayagraj) for managing the city’s affairs, with a total budgetary outlay of 8 lakh. More than 159 years later, the Prayagraj Municipal Corporation (PMC), as it is known today, has a budget of over 800 crore, making it one of the most thriving civic bodies in the state.

The old city area of Chowk lacking proper parking facility till date. (HT)

In these 159 years, the city sprawl has increased from 23 km to 375 km, with the latest expansion coming in 2019 when 207 villages became part of the city and the count of wards from 20 rose to 40 in 1959 after the UP Nagar Mahapalika Act came into force and then to 70 in 1995 and the present 100 wards, post the 2019-delimitation, which would witness polling on May 4.

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However, while the budget of the civic body has increased 1000 times in 159 years, residents of this emerging Smart City gearing up to host the Mahakumbh-2025, continue to struggle for many basic amenities.

“The PMC budget has risen many times since its inception and area under it has also grown significantly. However, residents of the city, especially those in old localities, are still struggling for clean potable water, a reliable sewage system and freedom from the problems of water logging during monsoon,” says Kamlesh Singh, 66, a third term serving corporator of PMC from Alopibagh (ward number 48) and a Sangam city resident for the past over 65 years.

He said that localities like Daraganj, Alopibagh, Malaviya Nagar and Chowk, among others, still lacked clean piped water supply as the pipes were old and had burst underground. The perennial water logging problem of Allahpur remained unaddressed till date. Waste collection and disposal also left much to be desired, he added.

A trader and a resident of Katra locality, Dinesh Mishra, 60 said many initiatives like shifting of dairies away from the city centre by setting up cattle colonies and addressing problems of stray animals like cattle and dogs remained confined to paper.

“Even the plans of setting up designated vending zones for hawkers as well as multi-level parking facilities across the city are yet to be realised. We still have just one multi-level parking facility in Civil Lines at a time when numbers of vehicles continue to rise on Prayagraj roads each passing day. Places like Chowk and Katra desperately need these parking facilities,” he pointed out.

Many locals also believe that participation of the common man in planning new initiatives should increase. “There is no real public representation in the Prayagraj Smart City committee. Only bureaucrats and consultants seem to be running the show,” said Parvez Rizvi, a school teacher and a resident of Kareli locality.

A positive step has nevertheless been the use of technology that, officials say, has made a significant difference in people’s lives.

Municipal commissioner of Prayagraj Chandra Mohan Garg said that moving with the times, cleaning of the dirty and clogged sewers of Sangam city had started with the help of “Bandicoot” robotic scavengers. A resident could pay house tax and water tax through Bharat bill payment system (BBPS) through the official website of PMC—

http://allahabadmc.gov.in/. Many other services too like work related to property mutation, property assessment, applying for new water and sewage connection etc could all be done online, he added.

Civic officials said efforts to set up vending zones and night markets for the street hawkers were underway on priority.

SUGGESTED BOX:

CHALLENGES AHEAD:

ENCROACHMENT: Most pavements constructed in run up to Kumbh-2019 in the city have been encroached upon.

STRAY MENACE: Almost the entire city is facing stray cattle and dog menace.

WASTE MANAGEMENT: Despite private agency being hired, solid waste collection and disposal is a problem in most densely populated areas.

DRAINAGE SYSTEM: Many localities still lack a proper drainage system, especially in the old city areas

PARKING: Count of vehicles in city has increased dramatically in recent years and is rising with each passing day but the city has just one multi-level parking, which too is seldom used.

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