OPEN HOUSE : DO YOU THINK MC'S COMPLAINT REDRESSAL SYSTEM IS EFFECTIVE IN ADDRESSING GRIEVANCES?
A workable redress system
Officials keep introducing newer ways to help people get benefits of the government system. Some of these systems actually are working pretty well. One such system is the MC’s complaint redress system, which was introduced by the previous BJP-led municipal corporation. During that period, people were made aware of the usefulness of this system and it proved quite successful. This is actually not surprising, for the contractors who look into repairs and other job works, get their payments only if they clear all the complaints within the stipulated time period, thus making it a workable redress problems. The present MC needs to create awareness among residents to popularise this system to extract the best out of it.
Web portal of civic body is of no use
The municipal corporation plays an indispensable role in the development of the city. The municipal corporation has introduced web portals to address people’s complaints, but these are not helpful. The complaints through emails are in vogue in western nations. However, in our country web portals are not advanced and landline numbers keep ringing. The municipal corporation web portal reminds me of that mechanic who said to his customer, “I could not fix your brakes but I have made the volume of your horn louder.” Actually, the MC needs to pull up its socks because people of the city want to see development, not fake promises. What they actually need to do is keep the websites updated so that people can easily access it. On the contrary, the MC should assign duties to its staff to take grievances calls regarding the problems encountered by people of the city.
Efficient redress system needed
The municipalities in cities and towns meet the day-to-day needs of people in a sustainable manner such as roads, bridges, street lighting, water supply, sanitation, sewerage, solid waste management, town planning, land development and construction of buildings, parks, fire-fighting, cemeteries, promotion of a safe and healthy environment and other economic, social, health, educational and cultural issues. An efficient, responsive and transparent civic body provides for a complaint redressal system. In case it fails to perform its mandatory functions, residents can lodge their complaints by using landline, toll-free number, email and web portal, and give their feedback, voice their opinions and make suggestions for improving municipal functioning and efficiency. But a majority of people are either unaware of these innovative platforms or are illiterate to use them. Otherwise also, a considerable number of grievances go unattended or unresolved in a time-bound and transparent manner. The municipal authorities usually turn a blind eye towards multiple hardships the residents suffer. Apart from the oft-repeated excuses of staff crunch and paucity of funds, it is because of corruption, vicious politics, lack of political will and official apathy. With rapid growth in population and urbanisation, it is imperative to strengthen and streamline municipal bodies for adequate delivery of basic public services. A sufficient number of employees, adequate infrastructure, regular monitoring and supervision of the grievances redressal system will check inordinate delay in solving the problems. Active participation and support of all stakeholders including the civic authorities, state and central government officials, NGOs and citizens will help to advance the general well-being of society.
Good platform for grievance redressal
I believe that the tools used for complaint redressal are a great platform for addressing the grievances of the public. It is a good step to provide a one-stop arrangement for citizen grievances management making use of information technology optimally, ensuring faster delivery of civic services. I wish the authorities concerned will take prompt actions after receiving complaints to make Jalandhar a smart city.
Close the case after complainant’s nod
In many cases, it has been noticed that MC officials conclude a grievance even without satisfying the complainant. The mechanism or internal control should be such that the complaint should be fixed without any delay. Accountability of officials should be fixed. Also getting satisfaction of the complainant should be made compulsory before closing the case. For this, there can be a window/link in the system where the complainant can write “I am satisfied”, “I am not satisfied” or “The following work is still pending”, etc.
Reliable system to redress complaints
The municipal corporation complaint redressal system was adopted a few years ago. It is a successful mode of system for the complainant to file his complaint regarding any problems he/she facing within the limits and under the jurisdiction of municipal corporation. As the complaint number comes on the mobile and he/she can verify the status of his complaint on the web portal. The Municipal Corporation should appoint new staff to carry out repairs on time as sometimes due to technical reasons repair work is delayed due to contractors. If the Municipal Corporation of Jalandhar has a particular appointed staff to help redress complaints, these can be solved at the earliest giving a relief to the complainant.
Rajat Kumar Mohindru
It’s neither effective nor helpful
The public grievances redress system evolved and presently put on the website of MC is neither effective nor helpful. The facility of using toll free/ landline numbers is worse than using e-mail/ website as their efficacy and scope is restrained due to their limited and tardy operational value. However, in view of present digitalised working and vast internet reach, the system through website needs to be streamlined and encouraged for maximum use. Presently the same system available with MC is in a pathetic condition. No e-mail regarding any complaint is acknowledged and there is no time-bound redressal. The worst experience is that the problem is generally shown as solved without having even attended by anyone from the MC. This amounts to cheating and breach of trust with gullible public and urgently warrants criminal prosecution besides strict action under disciplinary rules against the delinquent staff. But nobody takes notice of theses malpractices even after having brought to the information of their top officers. The whole system needs to be streamlined with drastic changes to make it user friendly and fully efficacious in solving the grievances effectively and quickly.
No official attends phone calls
Once I had tried to send a complaint, but nobody answered my phone calls be it landline or the toll-free number. But yes, there was an immediate response when an email was sent. I feel there should be a system where local councillors should be given powers to deal with complaints and they should be made answerable because most people are not well-versed with technology.
Mandeep Singh Sachdev
Fails to deliver quality service
The public complaint redressal system is one of the flagship schemes (aimed at fixing people’s civic problems) started by the administration. However, the system is very effective and meaningful. Landline toll-free numbers are there. Email id and web portal are there but all these things are of no use to public as landline numbers are always busy and not reachable. Emails are not checked for months. Customer dissatisfaction spoils the image of the system, grievances redressal procedure only gave assurances, not solutions. After months we get a message that the problem will be resolved without specifying in how much time. No answer or explanation is given. People often face difficulties in dealing with the system. Too many rules and regulations are there resulting in unnecessary delay. Now-a-days people are more enlightened and more demanding so a foolproof system is needed to help people and there should be regular check on complaints, check the seriousness of complaints and try to solve within 48 hours. We need capable, innovative and forward looking, result oriented staff, able to deliver quality public service to people in a hassle-free manner.
People have no faith in it
The system has proved to be of little help for people. Complaints are usually shown as solved, which, actually, remain unsolved for months. People have no faith in this system.
Making a fool of complainants
No doubt there is a web portal for redressal of complaints against municipal authorities. But unfortunately in most of the cases what the authorities concerned are doing is that they are updating false reports showing compliance of the said complaint as attended and settled or fault removed and work done instead of actual redressal. Hence the authorities are making a fool of the complainants. Therefore, the government should ensure that all the complaints are attended in reality and strict action should be taken against the official for updating false reports in larger public interest.
Redressal system a big failure
The redressal system of the Municipal Corporation is a big failure and they are just making a mockery of the municipal law and are not serious with regard to the master plan of the city. The master plan of the ‘Smart City’ cannot be violated, as the state of Punjab has also submitted an affidavit to the Union of India that they will not violate the master plan of cities to be made ‘Smart’. The officials are not replying to complaints with full details and officials just reply to very few complaints and that too is not satisfactory. They are just making fool of complainants. They should make it necessary to give an ID proof with the complaint, which is also a violation of the constitutional right of the general public. There is no strict watch on the redressal system and on the replies filed by the inspector/ATP concerned at their own level. Socrates had said: “By far the greatest and most admirable form of wisdom is that needed to plan and beautify cities and human communities.”
Simran Jit Singh
Landline, toll-free numbers mostly off
It’s to the credit of The Tribune that it keeps raising the people-centric issues in its open house section of Jalandhar Tribune. This subject is very much in line with that. The MC has no doubt a complaint redressal system with many tools like landline, toll-free number, e-mail and web portal. But as is said, a system is as good as the people who run it. Regarding the landline and toll-free number, the person on the line either doesn’t respond or diverts the caller to another number, most of the time. The caller just remains in suspense as to whether his or her complaint will be registered or not. Adding to the woe of the caller, both the landline and toll-free number are switched off. Similar is the fate with e-mail and web portal. The staff handling those services is also not very eager and energetic in responding to the person who has called them about his or her problems. We need to learn from Europe and America how earnestly they respond and solve the problems of the public. The government and the bureaucracy need to mend and energies the complaint redressal system.
Dr JS Wadhwa
Medium created, but is not monitored
It’s always ‘one day’ situation when an action plan has to be put in place. Nonetheless, the MC deserves applause for moving forward to provide online facilities along with the retro call and complaint system, but that’s not enough. The world moves towards a more robust and secure online platform, especially when it falls under the public sector. The media are created, but they are not monitored. The website is not mobile-friendly and contains numerous bugs that are experienced while navigating through it. A resident complaining about a grievance in the locality will complain about the online complaint system itself. There should be a ticket generation system for every complaint. That ticket should be monitored while going through different phases so that the resident is informed duly about his complaint’s status. Online platforms are easy to build but become complicated when deployed, especially in public environments. Thus, proper monitoring, maintenance and upgrades are keys to a reliable complaint address system.
As the prices of LPG cylinder, petrol and diesel are sky-rocketing, how difficult it has become to sustain livelihood in such a situation for residents, especially during the pandemic?
Plaints solved within given time frame
We have a dedicated cell for complaint redressal. Most grievances are related to blockage of drains or water supply. We ensure that complaints are solved within a given time frame. As sewer system is old at some places, blockages tend to reoccur. We also make random calls to complainants to ask them if their issues have been addressed or not. —Karnesh Kumar, MC Commissioner
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