You notice a drinking water pipeline burst near your residence. You want to save precious water flowing wastefully on the road.
Elsewhere, you find the manhole of underground drainage open. You get anxious as somebody's life or limbs could be in danger and want to prevent an accident. On rainy midnight, a huge tree is uprooted blocking the road. How do you reach the Corporation officials for timely help?
The piled up garbage is not removed from the dumper bin, placed in front of your house, for the second consecutive day. How is that you get rid of the stinking waste?
Option A: You dial the 24x7 Corporation control room.
Option B: You are reminded of its toll-free number.
Option C: You try to post your message on ‘make complaint' page of the Corporation website.
Unfortunately, you cannot choose any of the options, as no such thing exist in Madurai Corporation.
The second biggest Corporation of the State with over 12 lakh population does not have an integrated grievance redressal mechanism to attend to the complaints of its tax-paying residents. The residents have to either walk into the ward offices or the zonal offices or the Corporation Commissioner office to get relief.
On many occasions, the people are at the mercy of the councillors or the officials who they know. Many a time they attend to the problems, sometimes they do not. In fact, sometimes, it becomes difficult to reach them on their mobile phones – either the phones are “out of reach”, “switched off”, “busy” or they do not attend the calls when they are in meetings.
Even the councillors had complaints about their inability to reach officials or their grievance not redressed even after repeated reminders , during the council meetings.
This is because no record is generated for the complaints made over the phone to individual officials.
Often, the complaint made to a junior level officer does not go to the knowledge of the top level officials or the Mayor till the people take to the streets or it is reported in the media.
Stating that the Mayor, V.V. Rajan Chellappa, was very particular about putting up an effective mechanism to address the public complaints, the Corporation Commissioner, S. Natarajan said he was working on providing a toll-free number for the purpose.
“An integrated grievance redressal mechanism not only maintains records of the complaints received, but also makes the officials concerned accountable. In a way, it will also be a mechanism to monitor the functioning of our ground level staff,” he said.
Mr. Rajan Chellappa said the toll-free number would soon be launched. He said listening to complaints from the public per se would solve half of the problem of the city. “I have asked to put additional two lines,” he added.
“Eighteen types of complaints, with regard to drinking water supply, mosquitoes, stray dogs, underground drainage, etc. could be lodged. The information would be passed on to the official concerned over phone immediately. The zone-wise/ward-wise abstract with the nature of complaint will be forwarded to the Commissioner. We can review the action taken periodically,” Mr. Natarajan said.
The complaint cell would function between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. Besides, efforts were also on to introduce online complaint registration. Mr. Rajan Chellappa said he had proposed to introduce a Mayor squad, comprising officials from each department and from each zone, to attend to pressing needs of the people, like water supply, mixing of sewage with water, overflowing drainage and filling up of potholes during rainy season.
“We will try to live up to the expectations of the people,” he added.