Tuesday, September 21, 2004

One-stop citizen services shop flops

Hard times for citizens at service centres in Bangalore
“We wanted to combine all these services into one something like a one-stop shop,” said Mr S Ramani, advisor, Information Technology of the BMP.
Deccan Herald

They were supposed to be one-stop shops wherein with all sorts of civic services could be provided. But, these Citizen Service Centres of the City have not brought much relief to the citizens.

The Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BMP) began the Citizens’ Service Centres in the City on December 9, 2003, where citizens could obtain anything from birth to death certificates, pay property tax and collect, register, transfer katha certificates to trade licences. At a fee of Rs 25 to Rs 100, these services could be availed at these centres earlier between 9 am and 12 pm and 4 pm and 7 pm (now the timings have been revised to 9 am to 7 pm). These are located in four zones: Head office, near N R Road; Jayanagar II block, Public Utility building, M G Road and Sampige Road, Malleswaram.

Nearly a year later, barring the jubilant officials, the citizenry are not very happy about the functioning of the system. When this reporter visited three centres: Jayanagar, Corporation office and Utility building on September 13, everything about the centers seem to have gone awry. Inordinate delays, corruption, odd timing and personnel’s unapproachable attitude.

“I have been doing my rounds in this place for the last one week for a birth certificate. In fact I greased the palm one of the officials hoping the process would be hastened. They make us run up and down for certain documents,” Rathika Raj, an employee of Axa, a business service, who visited the Centre in Utility building.
Vijay Shetty, who runs a real estate business in Koramangala, said “this is the second time I am applying for a birth certificate. The officers in-charge misplaced the first one. And now just for an application form I have been made to wait for three hours. How can people be so careless?”

Krishna, an employee in Utility Buildings said, “The timings are absurd. They open as early as 9 am and close by 12 noon just when people started trickling in and open at 4 pm till 7 pm. This is very inconvenient.”
The centres were set out to automatise services to customers.

“We wanted to combine all these services into one something like a one-stop shop,” said Mr S Ramani, advisor, Information Technology of the BMP.
While the BMP is authorised to issue birth and death certificates and katha, the other facilities like property tax, building sanction plan is forwarded to the officials concerned.

But, Bangaloreans continue to encounter hard times whenever they enter the Citizens Service Centres. Sixty five-year-old Rajanna, a resident of Jayanagar, said he’s made to come here for the third time. “I came here to apply for my property tax. They have asked for five or six documents, I have brought it all. Everytime they ask me to wait. How long must I wait?” he asks. But V Suresh, an employee of Escorts in Yelahanka, who visited Jayanagar Centre said, “I am happy with the services. I got my work done within a day.”

Special Commissioner BMP Subash Chandra said the response for the Centres is very encouraging. He said delays are inevitable as some of the documents may need verification.

The Centres are available at: Head office (22975500 and 22975583); Jayanagar (22975700), Public Utility building (22975800) and Malleswaram (22975600).


Post a Comment

<< Home