The number of complaints against the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) in 2018 has risen by 43 per cent over a three-year period since 2016, a report by the Praja Foundation has found.
According to Praja Foundation data, the BMC received 1,16,658 complaints in 2018 as compared to 92,329 in 2017 and 81,555 in 2016. The report also noted a slight decrease in the number of days taken by the civic body to resolve complaints. While the civic body used to take 48 days to resolve a complaint in 2017, in 2018, on an average, it took 46 days.
The maximum number of complaints — at least 20,641 — concerned drainage. The complaints next in number — 14,494 — were about waste disposal. As many as 13,458 complaints, or 12 per cent of the total complaints, pertained to roads. The data was collected by Praja from various civic departments through RTI.
“The rise in the number of citizen complaints shows that the BMC is not addressing citizens on priority. The civic body is talking about executing mega projects like the Coastal Road, but it is not focusing on issues that concern the Mumbai daily,” said Nitai Mehta, founder and managing trustee of Praja Foundation.
He added, “Another reason for the BMC’s non-effective complaint management system is the councillor code, which pins down both the councillor as well as the administration responsible for resolving the issue. In at least 76 per cent of the complaints in 2018, the councillor code was not filled.” Of more than 1.16 lakh complaints in 2018, the civic body resolved 83 per cent.
The report also highlights the disparity between the number of public toilets for men and women. While there are 9,646 toilets for men, there are only 3,237 toilets for women, which is a 66 per cent disparity. “C ward (Bhuleshwar, Kalabadevi) in Mumbai, which has the maximum floating population due to commercial offices, is the worst case with an 85 per cent disparity. Of the total, 73 per cent toilet seats for men, 25 per cent for women and 2 per cent for disabled people,” said Rahul Kulkarni of Praja Foundation.
The report has also noted the air pollution level over the past three years. According to the
report, the Air Quality Index (AQI) in 2016 was 366 (very poor), 347 in 2017 (very poor) category and 279in 2018 (poor).
To improve the civic issues management system, the Foundation has suggested that the BMC create an open dashboard on its website to monitor and evaluate civic complaints. Also, making filing of councillor code mandatory will go a long way in addressing the lack of accountability in the functioning of the civic body, Mehta said.
“Citizen feedback with option of mentioning whether they are satisfied or not will certainly improve things. It lacks accountability in the absence of such mechanism,” said Mehta.