Corporate-style depts is the way ahead: Kunte

At an Idea Exchange,civic chief speaks about changes in BMC’s functioning

Written by Express News Service | Mumbai | Published:August 15, 2013 2:11 am

Corporatisation of major civic departments on the lines of the Brihanmumbai Electricity Supply & Transport (BEST) will give more autonomy to the decision-making process and enhance the efficiency of services provided by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC),Municipal Commissioner Sitaram Kunte said Wednesday.

“The BEST undertaking,even though a part of BMC,is a slightly more corporatised entity. It has autonomy when it comes to decision making. This structure is working well,” said Kunte at Newsline’s Idea Exchange programme. He said BMC was looking at adopting a similar model for other departments. “Efforts are underway to look at whether such a model can be implemented for the huge water supply network of the city and consequently for the other departments in the BMC,” he added.

BEST,which runs over 4,300 buses and supplies electricity to over 8.2 lakh subscribers in the island city,has an administrative set up distinct from BMC. It has a separate budget and is headed by a General Manager,who is responsible for decision-making. The decisions are taken by the BEST committee and do not require to be approved by BMC’s standing committee. “Such a bifurcation of the administrative set up has worked well,” said Kunte.

The Municipal Commissioner was responding to a query whether splitting the BMC,with a humongous Rs 25,000-crore budget,into distinct civic bodies would help it deliver services more efficiently. Kunte said there were many advantages which can result from economies of scale,given the size of BMC. “Whether it is New York,Istanbul or Sao Paolo,many big cities are governed similarly,” he said. “Rather than going in for disruptive re-organisation (such as splitting the BMC),which might raise various contentious issues,giving a more corporate kind of autonomy to various departments can perhaps be the way forward,” Kunte said. He added that consultants have been appointed to prepare a plan to implement the BEST model for the civic body’s water supply department.

At present,the city’s 4,000-km long water supply network is handled by the BMC’s water department,which has a shortage of manpower. In 2010,the BMC had to seek help from retired officials to deal with an operational snag,which had affected supply in south Mumbai.

The BMC’s plan to set up a separate water board with decision-making powers is at an advanced stage of planning. The civic administration has also sought reports from Hyderabad,Bangalore,Chennai and Nagpur,which have separate water boards.

mumbai.newsline@expressindia.com

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