April 22, 2015 2:52:12 am
Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis’s announcement that the state government will pass an ordinance for Right to Services will give Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC) officials reasons to smile. PCMC has been implementing a complementary scheme, the SARATHI, which ensures citizens get services at a phone call or at the click of the mouse. SARATHI ensures compliance by the officials, to the demand for services, is reported. The CM’s announcement in Pune also comes a day after he awarded the PCMC for “speedy development through administrative work”.
SARATHI— a favourite project of former municipal commissioner Shrikar Pardeshi—gives direct access to civic services, eliminating the role of corporators. On an average, PCMC helplines used to get over 100 calls daily. Right to Service, on the other hand, entails giving people legal recourse to hold an officer accountable and ensure time-bound delivery of services though SARATHI is a system that though makes compliance by civic officials mandatory, does not include any punitive action.
PCMC’s and Pardeshi’s efforts have borne fruit. For ensuring that citizens got timely services, the state government on Monday honoured PCMC with the top award in a competition organised by the government for “speedy development through administrative work”.
At a function in Mumbai on Monday, Chief Minister Fadnavis himself handed over the first prize that includes a cash component of Rs 10 lakh to PCMC officials. Pardeshi could not be present at the function. State Chief Secretary Swadheen Kshatriya had a word of praise for Pardeshi. Kshatriya said SARATHI initiatives launched by Pardeshi during his tenure as PCMC commissioner had helped PCMC provide civic services to citizens at a phone call. “Pardeshi has also implemented SARATHI in the IGR department which he headed until recently,” said Kshatriya.
PCMC senior officer Neelkanth Poman said SARATHI is complementary to Right to Services “While Right to Services makes it legally binding on officials to provide services, SARATHI lays stress on compliance by officials of the request for civic services. SARATHI makes it mandatory for officials to ensure compliance, but unlike Right to Services there is no provision of any punishment,” he said.
During Pardeshi’s tenure, SARATHI helpline used to receive 100-150 calls while there were 360 hits on an average daily on PCMC website. Citizens, however, grumble that SARATHI is not as effective as it was during Pardeshi’s tenure. “I recently put in my request for getting tap water. PCMC officials refused. But the message received on my complaint to SARATHI said by grievance has been attended to,” said Vidya Shivran.
Civic officials, however, said SARATHI is catering to citizens’ complaint like in the past. “If SARATHI complaints are not attended to, citizens can directly take their grievance to the commissioner,” said civic officials.
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