Several civic projects remained pending for three weeks in the absence of Patna Municipal Corporation commissioner, reflecting the drawback of single power centre.
The functioning of the civic body came to a standstill in the absence of the commissioner, Pankaj Kumar Pal. Several initiatives and projects remained confined to files, as he remained on leave on health grounds from August 18 to September 3.
Not a single standing committee meeting was convened for three weeks in his absence, leaving integrated solid waste management plan for 62 wards in a limbo. Drive against illegal cowsheds and encroachments remained a non-starter. Dumping of garbage on road or at waste collection points beyond the stipulated time period continued unabated because the plan to penalise the offenders could not be executed without the standing committee’s seal. (See chart)
“The civic body has turned into a one-man army. No files move when the commissioner is not around. No major decisions are taken in his absence and he does not delegate junior officers to take matters forward on his behalf. Hence, all activities came to standstill when the commissioner was not there,” said a source in the civic body.
Pal was not available for comments but officer on special duty in his office Shailesh Chandra Diwakar insisted that no work was affected because of the commissioner’s absence.
“The standing committee had refused to give nod to Bihar Urban Infrastructure Development Corporation (BUIDCo)’s plan to assign the task of carting garbage from 62 wards to a private party and it had nothing to do with the commissioner’s absence. All other initiatives are being undertaken and pursued,” he said.
Diwakar, however, failed to come up with an explanation on the suspension of the weekly standing committee meeting.
After the commissioner joined on Tuesday, steps were taken to convene a standing committee meeting on Thursday. The agenda of the meet was being worked out, said the source.
The standing committee consists of senior executive officials of the civic body, mayor, deputy mayor and five other councillors.
Sources in the corporation said the most important project hampered because of the commissioner’s absence was the integrated solid waste management project for the city. In the last week of June, BUIDCo selected Jindal Urban Infrastructure Limited and MBM-Dallah for carting trash from 62 wards of the city. It later requested the corporation to issue a no-objection certificate.
The matter was discussed in the corporation’s standing committee meeting on August 6. The panel refused to give its nod to the plan, seeking a detailed presentation on the project. A week later, Pal proceeded on leave.