Activists accuse civic body of sabotaging compliant website

Jul 02, 2012, 07:52 IST | Priyankka Deshpande

Claim site deliberately rigged to show error to deter citizens from registering complaints with various departments

It appears that the Pune Municipal Corporation’s (PMC) plan to become a tech-savvy civic body is ‘filled with errors’. It has been learnt that the corporation has failed to provide an error-free online complaint registration website. Complainants have expressed displeasure over the error message — internal system error, please try later — which flash repeatedly during their numerous attempts to register complaints online. In addition, accusations have been levelled against the civic body for sabotaging the website, so that citizens are unable to registered complaints

Errors galore: Complainants have expressed displeasure over the numerous error messages flashing on the PMC’s website

‘Deliberate attempt’
“I think the PMC officials have deliberately made the online complaint system non-operational so that they do not receive any complaints from citizens,” Binod Kumar Ojha, founder member of Lohegaon Mohalla Vikas Committee, said.

Ojha has been trying to register a complaint on the site for the past several days, but to no avail. “Since most people do not have the time to go to the PMC office to lodge complaints, the online compliant system is much more feasible.”

RTI activist Vijay Kumbhar claimed that PMC’s initiative to become a tech-savvy civic body is just a ploy to secure funds from Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNUM).

“As it is one of the conditions of JNNURM, to better the e-governance system to get funds from it, PMC is trying to show that it is tech-savvy.” Right to Information (RTI) activist Anoop Awasthi claims that the ‘error’ has been flashing for the past one month, due to which he was unable to register a complaint against the alleged encroachment in Hadapsar area.

“It’s easy to register online complaints rather than going to the PMC office each time. When I noticed that the online complaint system wasn’t working, I personally contacted the PMC’s IT cell, but I haven’t received any reply from them as yet,” Awasthi said.

Second complaint
The complainants also alleged that apart from receiving the above-mentioned error message, the ‘compliant for’ option, designed for specific departments on the PMC’s website, has been non-operational for sometime now. They said that it is mandatory to select the ‘complaint for’ option before they register a complaint with a particular department. But, owing to non-functioning of the option, they have not been able to register their grievances. 

The other side
PMC’s IT cell head Sudhakar Deshmukh said that the software had been developed by a private company free of cost some three years ago. But for the past one year,  the company withdrew its support, resulting in errors experienced by the complainants. “We are facing a staff crunch and therefore it might be possible that we didn’t pay attention to these problems. We will soon work on a new system that will be error-free,” Deshmukh said. 

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