Bhubaneswar, Nov. 2: The Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) might have won an award for e-governance achievements, but ground realities tells a different story.
The corporation won the Government to Citizen award, given by the Centre to encourage states for more effective citizen-centric e-governance, on Wednesday.
However, redressal of grievances, especially when it concerns street lighting and road repair, are still far from satisfactory.
This year, the BMC has received 7,840 grievances, of which 6,065 relate to repair of streetlights. Its website even boasts of solving such issues within a fortnight.
However, of the 6,065 complaints, only 4,898 have been addressed and the remaining are pending with the civic body’s electrical engineering section.
The website says that ward No. 9 has 101 pending cases but the ward councillor begs to differ.
“The ward, which has a population of 25,000, is the most neglected. We have more than 1,400 electric poles here, but only 500 have been fitted with lights. The residents have filed the grievances online, but the civic authorities haven’t given enough attention to the area,” said Ranjan Jena, councillor.
The BMC authorities said lack of adequate manpower hampered their work, which spelt misery for the residents.
Assistant engineer (electrical), BMC, Ajit Kumar Behera said: “We have one assistant engineer, two junior engineers and 30 field-level staff. We need an executive engineer to co-ordinate and plan all the work as the city has grown quite big.”
A senior BMC administrative officer said on condition of anonymity: “We need an executive engineer in the electrical wing, four junior engineers and 60 field staff to handle the pressure of the growing city.”
Apart from pending grievances in the electrical wing, there is also a backlog of requests for minor repair of roads across the city. While the corporation website shows that it has received 145 complaints since January 1, only 15 have been solved. Handling this extra burden has irked some BMC officials.
An assistant engineer said on the condition of anonymity: “As an assistant engineer, I even have to do clerical jobs such as typing and preparing estimates. This does not happen anywhere else. We are stressed and overworked.”
“Majority of roads in the city are full of potholes. Repair works begin but don’t end on time. The authorities concerned should understand people’s sentiments and complete their work on time,” said a resident of Old Town area.
Municipal commissioner Sanjib Kumar Mishra said more engineers, junior engineers and support staff in all departments were required and work was suffering because of the lack of manpower.
“We have made arrangements to handle the manpower crisis. It won’t be long before our officials are able to handle and resolve all issues on time,” he said.