Contrary to its name,the citizen facilitation centre (CFC) in Shivajinagar is a nightmare for Puneites. Citizens allege they are harassed,even forced to take the help of touts,who charge exorbitant fee for obtaining their documents. At the centre,which is located at the government godowns,there is no one to guide the visitors and the deadline given for issuance of documents is rarely met,they claim.
Every day scores of citizens who visit the CFC to seek income,domicile,non-creamy layer and caste certificates return dismayed as they are told that their documents will be delayed or that their application has been rejected on certain grounds. Officially,each certificate costs Rs 140 (including form,scanning,affidavit fees) with an issuance deadline of seven days. However,the touts at the CFC gate charge Rs 2,000 per certificate with a promise of home delivery within two days.
Vijaya (surname withheld on request),a resident of Vadgaon Sheri,who had applied for an income certificate on October 21 with an issuance date of October 29,said when she visited the CFC to collect the certificate,she was in for a rude shock. The person at the delivery counter said the certificate had not arrived and I should come later. I went in the afternoon but the certificate was still not ready. When I asked him why I was given a dateline to collect the certificate if even after seven days it wasnt ready,he threw the receipts in my face and refused to answer my queries, said Vijaya,who had an emergency as her daughter,who is pursuing a BEd course,was required to submit the certificate in her institute by Wednesday evening.
I visited the CFC on Wednesday morning only to find that the certificate was still not ready. The official told me that my application was pending with the tehsildars office and he cant tell me when the certificate will come. When I raised a hue and cry about the delay,he shouted at me and abused me for being lazy and applying for the certificate at the last minute. He asked me to check a week later. I was appalled to hear that. I had applied nine days ago and the job,which should have been done within two to three days,is taking a fortnight, she said.
Her disappointment turned into anger when she stepped out of the CFC gate. I was approached by a tout who said I was wasting my time and energy and if I was ready to pay Rs 2,000,she would provide the income certificate in two days, she said.
Insiders told Newsline that the chaos at the centre was because of the absence of a senior revenue department official to supervise the CFC and address the grievances of visitors. Theres a post of public relations officer of the rank of deputy tehsildar at the centre. However,the district administration appoints the deputy tehsildar only during May and June the admission season. For the past three months,a clerk is doing the job. But the clerk doesnt have enough authority and orders issued by her vis-a-vis addressing public complaints are not implemented, said a source.
Several visitors at the CFC complained that many times applications are rejected even though all required documents are attached. They rejected my application for income certificate saying I had not submitted an approval letter from my landlord. This is ridiculous because I have my own house, said Sushant Shirke,a student of Modern College and resident of Wakdewadi.
Mahesh Shetve,a senior official at CFC,said many things are in the pipeline to improve the situation and to streamline the procedure of certificate issuance. He said despite repeated complaints,the police have failed to control the touts,who often threaten the officials.