Law in Place: Errant officials set to lose increments; citizens,however,claim deadlines are never met
The Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) has decided to rigorously implement the Citizens Charter,which was put in place two years ago. The step is apparently aimed at finding whether officials are taking it seriously and processing the citizens applications faster.
In 2010,the PMC had decided to implement the Citizens Charter which was made mandatory for civic bodies benefiting from Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM). The charter laid stress on delineating service standards and fixing deadlines for their delivery.
Deputy Municipal Commissioner K C Karkar said the PMC will now start taking action against officials who have not gone by the deadlines set in the charter for delivery of services. We will take stern action against errant officials. The action includes from stopping increments to demotion, he said.
Karkar said though the charter has been in place for two years,they have not received complaints from citizens. This,said Karkar,is one the reasons why they have decided to rigorously implement the charter. The complaint should go to the municipal commissioner before coming to me for action.
Another crucial reason why PMC is pushing for strong implementation of the charter is the amendment made to the Bombay Provincial Municipal Corporations (BPMC) Act around six months ago. Karkar said the charter derives its powers from the amendement to Section 72 of the Act.
Karkar has written a book on Citizens Charter encompassing 155 types of applications that can be made to the PMC for seeking licences,NoCs,reports and civic services. The book has now become an official Citizens Charter for PMC officers. The minimum time limit for a civic service or a report is one day and the maximum extends up to four months. If officials do not act on applications within the specified time limit,citizens should lodge a complaint with us. However,as we are hardly receive any grievances from citizens,we assume that our charter has been fairly successful in the last two years, Karkar said.
However,citizens and civic officials say that Citizens Charter has systemic problems. Atul Goel,a builder,says a 21-day time limit has been set for obtaining a completion certificate from the PMC. However,I do not recall if the PMC ever issued a one in 21 days. Even if you submit the application with neccessary documents,officials still find fault and make you run around, he said.
Karkar said in such cases,citizens have to go by the check-list provided to them. If they still have a problem,then the PMC will initiate strictest possible action against civic officials, he said.
Umesh Naik,a citizen,said he has filed several complaints about illegal advertisements of a telecom company in the city. Six months later,they are yet to reply, he said.
Fire brigade chief Prashant Ranpise said the implementation of the charter becomes problematic at times. A citizen makes an application to us. He is supposed to collect a challan from us but due to lack of time or money,citizens sometimes return only after a year. This defeats the purpose of the charter, he said. He added that many times,they deliver services before the deadline.