Tuesday, January 09, 2007

New Delhi Municipal Corporation Officials Punished

For anybody who has lived in Delhi, the world of Delhi and New Delhi seem totally different. New Delhi is the part where everything is well planned, roads always seem to be good, mostly babus, politicians and rich people live with plentiful supply of power and water. Delhi is everything else. New Delhi is maintained by the NDMC (New Delhi Municipal Corporation) and Delhi is maintained by the MCD (Municipal Corporation of Delhi).
If anything is said about things in Delhi being shoddy, dirt being not cleaned up and sewers left rotting, it can be sure that this is in an area handled by the MCD. The NDMC, on the other hand, is flush with funds and supposed to be better managed. Residents of Delhi of course do not appreciate the functioning of either of the two corporations and condemn them for essentially non-working.
Why all this big preamble? Well, the NDMC has been hit by a judgement that could become a much quoted judgement in the area of responsibility fixing and ensuring that non-functioning babus cannot hide or shirk work. If this can happen to the NDMC, MCD officials might as well start looking for a secondary source to start paying all the fines that will start coming against them.
NEW DELHI: In a move aimed at saving the city's greens from being ravaged, the State Consumer Commission has slapped a fine of Rs 25 lakh on the NDMC for allowing marriages and events in Talkatora Garden a popular tourist hub next to the majestic Rashtrapati Bhavan.
In response to a plea filed by a group of morning walkers who visit the garden, the commission said Rs 5 lakh, out of the fine amount, will be recovered from salaries of the NDMC chairman and the director (horticulture).
Both of them will be liable to pay Rs 2.5 lakh each, the commission said in a bid to make this as "an exemplary case and eye-opener" for sloth officials of other civic agencies including MCD and DDA.

Making top offices accountable for the work (or non-work/wrong work) that happens in their department (even when it is brought to their notice) is not something that this country normally sees. If such a judgement manages to scare a few other officials in other departments to make sure that things are working, then it will all be worth it. At the least, it should shake up the babus to shed their arrogance (too hopeful?) towards the rights of the general public.
There are many caveats to being hopeful - this judgement will undoubtedly pass through the court system and may be reduced or struck down, but this is a still a good sign. It means that citizens are becoming more aware of their rights, are not willing to quietly accept the misdeeds of government and know how to make their opposition felt. A good sign indeed.

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posted by Ashish Agarwal @ 7:38 AM