Want to collect the death certificate of a loved one from the municipal office? Set aside your personal emotions and be prepared for a physical endurance test, as you would be compelled to stand under the scorching sun for hours to receive it.
Not only the death certificate, but citizens of H-West ward looking to pay civic bills at the civic body’s citizen facilitation centre (CFC) also have to undergo a similar hardship — thanks to the laxity of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) officials.
Citizens of H/West ward have to go through a hassle that is nothing short of an endurance test, if they want to collect death certificates or pay their civic bills from the BMC’s citizen facilitation centre
H/West, which includes areas of Bandra, Khar and Santacruz, has an approximate population of 4,21,141 residents and the CFC has only four counters to cater to the needs of residents.
But, what is most distressing is that the CFC operates for only four hours — between 9 am to 1 pm. Moreover, there’s a token system of entertaining only 200 people in a day, forcing the rest to return home and try their luck the next day.
Standing for hours
Noor Hasan (71), who had reached the venue an hour before the office opened, said that the sad state of affairs had been prevailing for over a year now, after the civic authorities started issuing death certificates, birth certificates, and accepting payment of property tax, water bills, shop and establishment licence all under one roof.
“Initially the birth and death certificates were to be collected from a separate counter,” said Hasan. Frantically looking for a place to sit after being on her feet for four hours, 62-year-old Helen D’souza, a retired school teacher, complained that the thought of losing her number in the queue is so horrifying that she is even scared to take a loo break.
“My feet are killing me and I would give anything to sit down for a few minutes. I am sure there is a more convenient way of getting work done in this age of super speed computers and the Internet,” said D’souza.
On her fourth visit in less than a week, 65-year-old Margaret Fernandes and 71-year-old Ashok Kumar, who has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s, complained that they dread the thought of visiting the CFC centre owing to the long queues.
Prashant Sakpale, assistant municipal commissioner, H/West ward (Bandra), said he was aware of the worsening situation and had taken adequate steps to rectify the problem.
“We are in the process of privatising the CFC in the next eight days, and extending office timings from 8 am to 8 pm, which will ease the pain of the residents to a great extent. A lot of my officers are currently on election duty, which is another reason for the long queues,” clarified Sakpale.