Babus not serious about serving citizens: Municipal commissioner Sitaram Kunte

Sep 14, 2014, 06:58 IST | Sharad Vyas

Municipal commissioner Sitaram Kunte rues the failure of the BMC's 500 Citizen Facilitation Centres

Three years after they were inaugurated with much fanfare to give top-class civic services in the wards, the idea of having Citizen Facilitation Centre (CFC) has almost been junked.

Long, chaotic queues are common at the BMC’s Citizen Facilitation Centres (CFC). File pic
Long, chaotic queues are common at the BMC’s Citizen Facilitation Centres (CFC). File pic

The word came from Municipal Commissioner Sitaram Kunte, no less he admitted that civic babus “are not serious about serving the citizens”. Annoyed at the continued failure of public services at the 500 CFCs, the civic commissioner will impose R50,000 as fine on stakeholders for every day until services at CFC are restored.

The per-day fine will be shared equally by three software firms, ABM, Reliance, URS, and 10 per cent by the managers at the BMC’s information technology (IT) department in case of future breakdown of services at centres, which greatly inconvenience citizens.

Kunte passed the order in his letter (MC/A/7413) after visiting several CFCs recently. He found that the operations there broke down regularly, there were long queues at the centres, customer relationship management (CRM) was in shambles and the grievance redressal system at CFCs was substandard.

“Despite repeated intervention on my part, there has been no progress. I feel, the agencies involved in this work ABM, Reliance, URS, and officials of the CA (finance) are not serious in this endeavour, that is, to provide quality services to citizens,” Kunte said in his circular to department heads of the BMC. “I will impose this hefty fine irrespective of the stakeholders responsible,” he added.

The civic commissioner also pointed out that slow internet speed resulted in long queues and absence of CRM forced citizens to return at the CFCs for the same tasks, often by skipping work to pay their bills at the centres. Furthermore, because the cyber CVMs are not up to the mark, no certificates are being issued on time, he said in his letter.

“I have first-hand experience of the city’s civic needs, and it is very disturbing to mention that citizens find these centres neither friendly nor helpful,” an angry Kunte said in his letter. In 2011, the BMC launched 500 CFCs at the ward level to enable people to avail all governmental facilities under one roof.

At these centres, citizens can apply for documents such as birth certificate, death certificate, marriage certificate, licences for commercial establishments and even registering civic complaints.

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