Citizens' Charter a flop show?

At MCD's Lajpat Nagar zonal office, nearly 45 people were told to come back on Monday as the server was down

It seems the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) has started the journey to improve its services on a wrong foot. The brand new citizens' Charter, though officially launched on Wednesday and put into operation on Thursday, failed to take off. Glaring inconsistencies surfaced between the MCD's official statement regarding its achievement of goals in light of the latest system and the on-ground reality on the inaugural day.

Day 1: No action at the Lajpat Nagar zonal office of MCD as server
remained down on Thursday. Pic/Subhash Barolia

In its press statement, MCD claimed, "The Citizen Service Bureau situated in the 12 zones received 2,003 applications for birth certificates today. Of these, 1,997 applicants were issued the certificates on the spot and six were requested to give the correct information. As many as 377 applications were received for issuance of death certificates, of which 375 were issued then and there.  Two applicants were requested to get the information updated at their end.  All 48 applicants for booking of community hall were granted the certificate. Similarly, 16 people applied for booking of parks, and all of them were issued the certificate."

During the course of visiting various MCD zonal offices, however, this reporter discovered that the statement was far from reality. At the Lajpat Nagar zonal office, nearly 40 people were told to return and come back on Monday to collect the certificates, as the server was down. Also, five persons who came to book community halls had to turn back empty-handed. Under the new rules of the citizens' Charter, MCD will issue the birth and death certificates on the same day.

Anjana Raj Tripathi, who had come to the Lajpat Nagar zonal office expecting prompt service, said, "I left all my chores and came to get Vatsal's (her son) birth certificate. Now, they are saying the server is down." According to protocol, details of the infants born after 2004 are to be uploaded and sent to the MCD by the hospital concerned. Hospitals have been given the passwords for the same, and are under obligation to upload the information within 21 days of the child's birth.

On the other hand, Anil Agnihotri, Deputy Assessor and Collector, MCD, said no complaints were received. He said, "All systems are in place. Everything is in order. I am happy and positive about the system. We have not received any complaints so far."

Bhupendra Chouhan (43), a resident of south Delhi, had come with three family members to get the death certificate of his father. He expressed anguish at the fact that collecting one's father's death certificate could also not be done without a glitch. He said, "This is a very sad work for us. It pains me that even this cannot be done on time. We have been asked to return on Monday. We will have to go through this torture again on Monday."

Yogendra Chandolia, chairman of the Standing Committee of MCD, said he was unaware of the situation at the Lajpat Nagar branch. He said, "It is definitely disturbing that the server could not be fixed and people were told to return next week. I will look into the matter."

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