ELEVEN DAYS after the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation launched its key project of issuing a WhatsApp number for quick redressal of complaints, things on the ground don’t seem to work well as city residents have complained that their plaints are not seeing redressal and lying pending for days.
On August 15, Mayor Rajesh Kalia had launched the WhatsApp number. Within four days, the civic body received over a thousand complaints at the number. All the officials had been directed to address at the earliest the issues raised in the complaints.
Swadesh Talwar, president of Residents Welfare Association of Sector 44, stated that on August 17, he posted a complaint that gullies were blocked in front of house number 1209 and in front of house number 1259. He posted pictures and complained that blockage of the road gullies would result in flooding in that area. However, the status remains the same even after nine days. Monday will be the 10th day.
“I also posted a reminder after a week with a picture again. I wrote that the complaint was posted on August 17 and has not been addressed so far,” Talwar said.
The civic body has baildars and other outsourced class IV employees in every sector. They are employed only for this purpose. The baildars are deployed area-wise for cleaning the road gullies and other such issues. In some areas, the corporation is even over-staffed when it comes to outsourced employees. Rajan Puri, a resident of Sector 21, said that he had even complained of low water pressure some days ago in his sector. The plaint states “resolved” but it was not redressed.
“What is the use (of this number) if plaints are not to be addressed? I had even posted an online complaint. What they do is, they show the complaint as resolved but it is never done so,” Puri said, adding that when they even requested for a water tanker, no tanker came.
“In our locality, a former IAS stays and when he called up the staff, immediately a water tanker reached his residence,” he added.
Baljinder Singh Bittu, chairman of the Federation of Sectors Welfare Association of Chandigarh, said that the number is a futile effort as the civic body is known for launching things with fanfare and then doing nothing on the ground.
“They always do such things for publicity just to show on papers that they have a platform for redressal of plaints. So many apps or platforms were launched in the past,” Bittu said. “Even that parking app which they launched where residents could book their parking space in advance and see the availability of parking, that also stopped working after a few days. Their toll-free number which they launched is of no use as that shows that the complaint has been resolved but it is never addressed on the ground.”
A senior official of the engineering wing of the corporation told Chandigarh Newsline, “In fact, we do not have much staff and people are just sending too many complaints. One resident is sending four-four complaints so it will take little time to sort this out.”
Mayor Rajesh Kalia told Chandigarh Newsline that every new project faces little teething problems. “I will check with the staff what is wrong with it. In fact, they had received over a thousand complaints and it takes little time to resolve them but yes, I agree not 10 days for a small issue like blockage of a road gully,” he said.
In a first, to resolve residents’ grievances, the civic body had launched a WhatsApp number, 7380033322, where citizens could send their complaints related to all the services of MC. After resolving the complaint, the official concerned will have to post a picture of the same on the WhatsApp group and that will be conveyed to the resident as well.