Delhi

Three months on, MCD’s public hearings remain a low-key affair

The MCD headquarters at the Civic Centre on Minto Road.

The MCD headquarters at the Civic Centre on Minto Road. | Photo Credit: File photo

 Three months after the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) launched its daily public hearing initiative, attendance of people at the hearing continues to remain thin. 

Between June 6 and August 5, the civic body received a total of 2,003 complaints through the hearings and 1,074 of them have been disposed of so far. On July 1, the total number of complaints stood at 954, while 406 of these grievances were dealt with by the MCD. 

Currently, daily public hearings take place for one hour at 14 locations, including the MCD headquarters on Minto Road and 12 zonal headquarters. Civic officials had earlier said that the initiative was a step in the direction of filling the vacuum created after the formal departure of ward councillors, who were a crucial point of contact for the residents to voice their grievances. 

‘Work in progress’

While some civic officials said the initiative — ‘Jan Sunwai’ — requires more public awareness and is a work in progress, a senior MCD official who is familiar with the progress of the campaign stated that the numbers were “sufficient”. 

“The number of complaints is very low, especially when it is for the entire MCD. The reason why the hearings are getting thin attendance is because people are not aware of the initiative, which is fairly new,” said a civic official. 

The civic official added that while the public hearings were launched to fill the void created in the absence of councillors — who are yet to be elected — the MCD’s initiative needs more promotion for it to work in the long run. 

“For many people, a councillor is the first point of contact to address civic issues. MCD officials may disagree, but people still go to former councillors’ residence with their problems instead of approaching the civic body,” said the civic official. 

However, a senior MCD official, who had earlier stated that the initiative was a “work in progress” and agreed that the turnout was low, said the attendance at present was “sufficient”.

“We [MCD] have other mediums of receiving complaints such as the helpline, mobile app and social media, so the public hearing numbers are sufficient. There are some complaints during these hearings which are dealt with immediately while other complaints require more work and cannot be solved at the earliest,” said the senior MCD official. 

Former ward councillors across party lines said that residents continued to reach out to them despite their term at the civic body having run its course. 

“I continue to get around 50 calls a day from the residents, while many come to me with their issues. They complain that the MCD’s helpline and mobile app services don’t provide a solution, while going to the public hearing for issues related to street lighting and sanitation is difficult as the zonal office is quite far for many,” said Manoj Tyagi (AAP), former ward councillor from east Delhi’s Khajuri Khas.


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Printable version | Aug 10, 2022 11:52:46 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Delhi/three-months-on-mcds-public-hearings-remain-a-low-key-affair/article65737551.ece