Days after the Vadodara Municipal Corporation issued a diktat for its Class I and II employees to sport especially-designed navy blue T-shirts with a Smart City logo during office hours to promote the concept, the civic body in a fresh circular has stated those who fail to do so will have to pay a fine of Rs 500.
The internal circular, dated May 6 and issued by Municipal Commissioner H S Patel, stated that it was move to “instill team spirit” among officers for better performance in the second round of the Smart city selection. Vadodara in January had failed to enter the first list of Smart cities, and now the VMC appears to be channelising its energy in image-building to make the cut in the second phase in June.
The navy blue T-shirts have a Smart City logo on the pocket and the VMC banyan tree logo on the sleeves. Apart from this, the civic body has also changed the caller tunes of its employees’ mobile phones to a message seeking feedback from citizens on how to make Vadodara a Smart City.
“The central government has decided to select 40 Smart Cities in the second round in June. We are making attempts to ensure better ratings to projects of infrastructure and services. For this, we are gathering valuable feedback and suggestions from citizens in order to sincerely take up projects according to grades. In order that the Class I and II officers of the VMC join the second round of the Smart City campaign to be held in June and to instill a spirit of unity and team spirit as ‘Team City Vadodara’, each officer has been handed over two T-shirts. The officers have to wear these T-shirts, everyday. The T-shirt has the logos of the Smart City project, the Vadodara Municipal Corporation and the Swachch Vadodara mission,” the circular stated.
It further said: “It is mandatory for all Class I and II officers (that include the staff of the offices of the Municipal Commissioner, Deputy Municipal Commissioner, Mayor, and Deputy Mayor), VMC consultants, and staff employed to gather feedback forms and suggestions from citizens to sport the Smart City T-shirts. Any officer who does not wear the T-shirt will have to pay a fine of Rs 500 per day. The responsibility of ensuring that all the staff members are dressed in the Smart City T-shirt lies with the head of each department.”
VMC officials, however, said the exercise would be futile without a proper plan. A VMC executive engineer said, “We have no choice but to wear the T-shirts… But, the proposed project report for Smart City is the only way to earn the tag. This superficial attempt is only going to make us appear silly. None of us can say that to the top brass of the corporation.”