‘Desk will encourage people to not use touts to cut through the paperwork’

The attempts to boost the sagging image of the Mangalore Urban Development Authority (MUDA) seem to be a hit and a miss. While its helpdesk initiative is gradually picking up steam, the measures to introduce transparency seemed to have backfired on the officials.

MUDA Commissioner Mohammad Nazeer said the helpdesk – which is operational from 10.30 a.m. to 1.30 p.m. – would offset, to some extent, the tendency of people to get touts or agents to cut through the paperwork.

For Guruprasad S., who had come for a single-site approval, the presence of the desk has cut down a lot of effort he would have otherwise made repeatedly travelling from his residence in Surathkal to the MUDA office. “I wonder why they didn’t introduce it before, like the RTO (Regional Transport Office) had done,” he said.

As the desk helped in sorting his documents and even made a list of necessary documents that he needed to produce, Mr. Guruprasad said, “At least now I know what is needed for me to get the approval; and need to do just one more trip. Else, I would have had to wait endlessly for some official to explain the process, or have my application rejected for lack of a document.”

Mr. Nazeer estimated that the number of applications received since the helpdesk opened on October 21 had increased by at least 10 per cent. “The increase has been gradual, but we see it picking up as the awareness of the desk increases,” he said.

Another success is the computerisation of the zonal certificate, which has digitised archaic survey maps. This, said Mr. Nazeer, has reduced the time for issuing a certificate. However, with servers being an issue, it may take a week to upload them onto the MUDA website for public viewing.

“This would allow the applicant to gauge, in their comforts of their homes, what kind of zonal certificate will be issued for his or her land,” said the commissioner.

Moot point

However, MUDA’s efforts to improve transparency through a feedback feature in their website (mudamangalore.com) have not taken off. While the intended option allowed citizens to complain about any irregularities directly to the Commissioner, Mr. Nazeer said so far only queries of the certification process have been received.

“People seemed to have misused the feature to ask questions about registration, about the fees, among others,” he said.

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