Mumbai: BMC's civic governance, with a little help from social media apps

Updated on Jul 20, 2015 03:24 PM IST
There is no policy asking them to use social networking platforms to govern, but departments of the BMC are communicating through such apps, through 20-odd groups, where they make decisions, conduct meetings and even quickly resolve a problem.
Hindustan Times | ByVaishnavi Vasudevan, Mumbai

Smartphones, check. Social networking apps, check. Governance, check.

There is no policy asking them to use social networking platforms to govern, but departments of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) are communicating through such apps, through 20-odd groups, where they make decisions, conduct meetings and even quickly resolve a problem.

These groups are headed by senior civic officials or additional municipal commissioners, and some of them even have civic chief Ajoy Mehta as a member.

The move, said officials, allows them not only to make decisions quickly, but also increases the accountability of officials.

“If something needs to be acted upon, we take a photo and upload it on the groups. Some of these groups have all 24 ward officers and other department heads. This means, the official concerned must act and report on it with proof promptly,” said Sanjay Mukherjee, additional municipal commissioner. “The groups are especially useful to ensure quick action and to ask for status reports,” he said.

For instance, it took just five minutes to gather relevant data, when recently the Bombay high court asked the civic body to file an affidavit about Ganpati pandal permissions.

“Usually, an email has to be sent to the different wards, or a letter faxed. But this time, when an additional commissioner asked for the information, all 24 ward officers sent it immediately,” said Kiran Dighavkar, assistant municipal commissioner, M east ward.

Apart from administrative groups, there is a disaster management group to ensure quick response during emergencies. The civic chief, the head of the disaster management cell, deputy municipal commissioners, joint commissioners and ward officers are part of it.

But there is a flipside, some officials said.

“The constant beeps from the different groups distract us from the work at hand. There are times when our bosses ask us why we have not responded to a message, even though we read it. It makes us difficult to manage our daily work and also constantly report on these groups,” said an official, not wishing to be named.

Another official was not very happy with instant action the groups necessitate. “When senior officials travel and find something that needs to be acted upon, they stop, take a picture or send a message on the group, asking us to act and report back. In such cases, there is no escape,” said another official.

The civic body has also formed a few groups with reporters as members. Managed by the BMC’s chief public relations officer, timely updates, actions and decisions are posted on them to keep the media in the loop.

Close Story

Less time to read?

Try Quickreads

  • Mumbai, India - October 28, 2021: Powai Lake Rejuvenation Project to be constructed (Proposed pic). (HT Photo) (Hindustan Times)

    MP urges BMC to withdraw SLP on Powai Lake cycle track

    Mumbai: Member of parliament Manoj Kotak, who represents the Bharatiya Janata Party from the Mumbai North East constituency, has hit out at the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation over a recent special leave petition filed before the Supreme Court, challenging the Bombay high court's May 6 order on Powai Lake, which held that the BMC's proposed cycle track around the water body as illegal. Hindustan Times had reported this development on August 9.

  • Police said Rawat was on their radar since the beginning of the probe. (HT PHOTO)

    Uttarakhand paper leak: Local BJP leader arrested

    A panchayat member of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, Hakam Singh Rawat, was on Sunday arrested in connection with the Uttarakhand Subordinate Service Selection Commission paper leak. Police said Rawat is one of the “masterminds” of the leak, who was on the run and trying to enter Himachal Pradesh when he was held in Uttarkashi on Saturday and brought to Dehradun for interrogation.

  • It was argued on his behalf that since no departmental proceedings were initiated against him by the employer, he was entitled to full salary and consequential benefits like a promotion for seven years when he remained behind bars.

    No work, no pay: HC rejects acquitted teacher’s plea for salary during his imprisonment

    Mumbai: The Bombay high court (HC) has rejected a plea of a 65-year-old retired teacher seeking a salary for the seven years that hthe teacher-Gangadhar Pukalespent behind bars in connection with the alleged murder of his wife. While in service, on July 5, 2006, he was arrested for allegedly murdering his wife and convicted in September 2008 for the offence of murder and sentenced to life imprisonment.

  • Targeting youngsters, the radio station instantly connects one to our neighbour and parted brother. Following it for years, I’ve woven a bond with it. Whenever tuned in, the channel belts out an exciting fare, including songs from the West, besides Bollywood and Pakistan. (Representative Image/HT File)

    Spice of life | Independence is in the air, give peace, love a chance

    Whenever I drive towards my village, which is minutes away from the Indo-Pak border of Attari-Wagah, I tune in to City FM 89.0, a popular radio station of Pakistan, the frequency of which is received in our border villages. If I have guests along, I ardently introduce it to them, too. “Do you know the song you're listening to is being played by a Pakistani radio broadcaster?” I tell them.

  • Manoj Sinha leading the march. (PTI)

    Manoj Sinha leads tricolour march in Srinagar

    Jammu & Kashmir Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha led a tricolour march on the banks of the Dal Lake in Srinagar on Sunday as part of the Har Ghar Tiranga campaign to mark 75 years of India's Independence. Speaking on the occasion, Sinha said Jammu & Kashmir was breaking all records in its enthusiasm for the Independence Day celebrations. Sinha recalled Mahatma Gandhi's Dandi march and its role in the country's freedom struggle.

Story Saved
Saved Articles
My Reads
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Sunday, August 14, 2022
Start 15 Days Free Trial Subscribe Now