Malappuram municipality on Sunday became the first municipal body in the country to win an ISO certification for quality management. The ISO 9001-2008 certificate has added another feather to the cap of Malappuram, which was chosen the State’s second best municipality last year.

Although Namakkal municipality had won ISO 14001-2004 certification a few years ago, it was exclusively for environment-friendly services. “We are proud to be the first in the country to get an ISO certification for quality services. It is, indeed, recognition for the exemplary work we have been doing,” said municipal chairman K.P. Mohammed Mustafa.

Minister for Home Ramesh Chennithala declared the ISO recognition and handed over the certificate to the municipal authorities at a function here on Sunday.

“People have a right to services. If the government does not provide better services, the people will reject them,” Mr. Chennithala said.

Malappuram municipality has been on a track of fast reforms for the past couple of years. Last year, it achieved the distinction of having zero pendency of files, and the municipal authorities had announced prizes for those who pointed out about files pending beyond a specified time. None won the prize apparently.

“The real achievement this time is getting the prestigious ISO 9001-2008 certification for the civic body outside the private sector,” said Binu Francis, municipal secretary.

In spite of frequent political interventions and the lax attitude of government officials, the municipality achieved the certification by ensuring quality services and other facilities for the public. “That is the real achievement. We could convince every staff member of the importance of providing prompt and effective services to the public,” said Mr. Mustafa.

The TQ Services has given the municipality the ISO certification after a year’s training in proper documentation, which conformed to the standards specified by the certification agency.

The municipality currently offers 70-odd services of various types. Different services have different time limit in delivery, with the maximum for some services being a month.

“The cooperation of the staff is the real strength of this municipality. And that is the hallmark of this achievement,” said Mr. Francis.

For the past three years, Malappuram had attained the distinction by not letting its Plan funds lapse. “In fact, it was this achievement and the zero-file pendency that prompted us to look for ISO certification,” said Mr. Mustafa.

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