Why BMC uses WhatsApp to address complaints lodged via Twitter!

Updated: Aug 27, 2019, 07:54 IST | Chetna Yerunkar | Mumbai

Its handle has become popular with citizens who point issues on it; some staff who are not familiar with the micro-blogging service, receive information about them on the messenger service

BMC officials have to attend to issues within 48 hours and upload pictures of the work done, especially of repaired potholes, on Twitter
BMC officials have to attend to issues within 48 hours and upload pictures of the work done, especially of repaired potholes, on Twitter

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation's (BMC) official Twitter handle has become very popular among citizens to register their grievances on civic issues, but some of its employees have cried foul over the additional work being imposed on them. BMC officials have to attend to issues within 48 hours and also upload pictures of the work done, especially of repaired potholes, on Twitter. Interestingly, as some of them are not Twitter-savvy, WhatsApp groups have been created to share complaints lodged on it among them.

Acing social media

After the Mumbai Police Twitter handle became popular among the twitterati, the BMC started its own account two months back, called '@mybmc,' to reach out to maximum citizens. The BMC also roped in the same experts as those managing the Mumbai Police Twitter handle, to work and train those who handle its account. The BMC has not been active on social media, but the expert advice has made it social media friendly, and the richest civic body has been getting traction ever since; so much, that it got its ward offices to start separate Twitter handles.

Also Read: Mumbai: Tree census done, but BMC not revealing what it found

Using WhatsApp

However, its engineers have cried foul over the additional work imposed on them. They now have to attend to the tweets of citizens. BMC officials have to attend to problems within 48 hours as dictated by the commissioner and upload pictures of the work done on Twitter. As many of the engineers are not Twitter-savvy, the authorities have found a middle path to deal with this issue — every ward has a WhatsApp group of the road department and ward level engineers along with ward officers, where the Twitter complaints are shared.

An official from the road department said, "The major difficulties are about identifying the location in the complaint. Many citizens just write the name of the area and it is difficult to locate the potholes. Once this is done, we have to fix the problem and put up the picture on our WhatsApp group, after which it is then uploaded on Twitter."

Vijay Singhal, additional municipal commissioner, was not available for comment.

Also Read: GMLR project: BMC to purchase compensatory plot for forest department

No. of complaints attended

Regarding complaints received through BMC's 24X7 mobile application — a forum for citizens to register complaints with a separate module for road-related complaints — since the start of the monsoon, the roads department has attended to more than 90% — 3,171 of the total 3,350 complaints received, and 179 are still pending.

3,350
No. of complaints received since monsoon began

3,171
No. of complaints roadsdept has attended so far

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