While civic complaints in the capital increased by 27 per cent from 2015 to 2016, important issues mentioned in the manifestos of various political parties were not adequately raised by MLAs and councillors in the corresponding period, NGO Praja Foundation revealed in its white paper released on Thursday. In fact, 10 MLAs and 32 councillors didn’t raise “a single civic” issue in 2016, the Praja report said.
Praja collected data of the period from January 2013 to December 2016, through RTI enquiries. Speaking at the release of the white paper at the Press Club of India, Nitai Mehta, Founder and Managing Trustee of the Praja Foundation, said, “Elected councillors and MLAs were not giving importance to people’s issues.”
The paper shows that while overall complaints in 2015 were 3.54 lakh, the figure increased to 4.51 lakh in 2016. The highest number of civic complaints (61,939) were filed in the West Zone of South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) in 2016.
However, in terms of increase in percentage, Narela saw a 56 per cent increase from 10,454 in 2015 to 16,343 in 2016.
Pollution was the issue, which saw the maximum (52 per cent) increase in complaints. However, the number of pollution-related issues raised by MLAs dropped from 24 in 2015 to eight in 2016. “Data indicates why elected representatives must constantly pay heed to citizens’ voices. The massive civic problems that Delhi faces, such as pollution, did not arise overnight. On several points, our data suggests consistent apathy on part of elected representatives in the face of clearly increasing public concern,” said Mehta.
The report found that on the matter of Resident Welfare Associations, the BJP, Congress and AAP had raised only seven, one and zero issues respectively, despite it being mentioned in all three manifestos. The report also shows that MLAs and councillors did not even adequately address issues in their areas.
For example, the maximum number of complaints (519) of fire in house/building of all the zones were registered in Civil Lines, yet neither the MLA nor the councillor of the area raised the issue even once in two years.
The report also claimed that six MLAs did not raise a single civic issue in 2015 or 2016. These include Raghuvinder Shokeen from Nangloi Jat, Asim Ahmed Khan from Matia Mahal, Mahinder Yadav from Vikaspuri, Dinesh Mohaniya from Sangam Vihar, Sahi Ram from Tughlakabad and Mohd Ishraque from Seelampur.
Mehta said it was a “unfortunate if elected representatives are not seen to be doing their primary job” and that it “raises a question about their priorities”. The report also found that the average attendance of MLAs at meetings was at 88%, down from 93% in 2015.