mid day editorial: Tackle root cause of encroachments
This is a good way to ensure that encroachments are tackled, but civic authorities first need to analyse the failures that have led to so much encroachment proliferating
The civic body has taken a leaf out of corporate books to clean up its system. The administration has decided to give set targets for officials. After target-based garbage segregation, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is looking at allotting targets to designated officers in charge of removal of encroachment in their respective wards.
The BMC has come up with a removal-of-encroachment tracking system, to track citizens' complaints, reduce citizen activism and bring in transparency with respect to the action taken against illegal structures. Civic officials themselves haven't been using the system, acting on complaints manually and not updating them digitally, so the municipal commissioner has decided to make it compulsory.
This is a good way to ensure that encroachments are tackled, but civic authorities first need to analyse the failures that have led to so much encroachment proliferating. Getting to the root of the problem will also ensure that these do not keep springing up repeatedly. When something is pulled out from its source, when the reason or reasons for why they have come up are tackled, it is then that we ensure we are treating the malaise in its entirety and looking at the problem holistically.
While giving targets for demolition may result in less encroachment, this has to be done wisely and well. Officials also have to track that once cleared, encroachments do not come up again. Otherwise clearing them and meeting your target just to see them come up again is of no use at all.
Use these directives with great balance, perspective and for the long term. One has no hesitation in terming encroachments as the No. 1 obstruction in Mumbai. We now have to see if this is the initiative that would work to clear them.
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