Ranchi Municipal Corporation (RMC), which launched its poll process from Tuesday and will get its new board from April 18, has had a mixed scorecard in the last five years, including a 150 per cent revenue growth and shoddy execution of many multi-crore JNNURM projects.
During the tenure, the RMC had announced a slew of civic projects, but contractors proved apathetic in bidding for its tenders. But the civic body’s biggest failure is its less-than-impressive record in implementing big-ticket JNNURM projects.
The JNNURM’s integrated drainage and sewerage project worth Rs 1,600 crore, envisaged in 2006, got stuck in a series of hurdles, with the mud of accusations raised by BJP leader Raghubar Das and others partially sticking on the entire process of outsourcing a Singapore-based firm. The matter was sub-judice till 2012, many loopholes were found in the detailed project report prepared by the Singapore firm, and at the end of it all, the first phase of JNNURM has ended.
The net result was the state could not collect the Centre’s Rs 1,600 crore for the integrated drainage and sewerage project in a capital that sorely needs basic sanitation.
The RMC has managed to use only 50 per cent of Rs 200 crore meant for the JNNURM’s drinking water pipelines laying project, being implemented by Hyderabad-based IVRCL Ltd.
Low-cost housing under JNNURM’s basic services for urban poor (BSUP) worth Rs 200 crore had better luck, with the state collecting the central funds and the RMC making fair progress. The city bus service, worth Rs 11 crore, is also running more successfully than its Jamshedpur counterpart.
But many of the RMC’s own dream projects — construction of Town Hall to replace the existing dilapidated building, integrated vegetable marts, multi-storey parking lots, road repair, among others — never saw the light of day.
Jaipal Singh stadium revamp and Daily Market shopping complex are two major projects that RMC can take credit for despite delays. Both should be ready in a year.
RMC met with some success in garbage collection, started constructing six new parks and did isolated jobs such as setting up some drains, culverts, drinking water kiosks and the like.
On Monday, the day before the poll process began, RMC incumbents were candid about the mixed feeling. “We were elected to the civic body after a gap of two decades. There was no system in RMC. We began from scratch. A lot of our energy and time went in framing systems,” said mayor Rama Khalkho.
The RMC board also could not take from the state many constitutional powers except the authority to approve building maps.
“The state government has still not handed us healthcare, education, drinking water and other essential areas, though we tried our best to claim these powers,” A.S. Deol, a ward commissioner, said.
But Khalkho added that when they took over in early March 2008, RMC’s revenue was only around Rs 8 crore per year. Five years later, the civic body collects around Rs 20 crore.
Summing up, she said their board was leaving a firm legacy for the successor. “The RMC is on firm footing. Things will surely look up,” she said.
Residents, on the other hand, felt the RMC had a longer litany of failures than successes.
“True, the state’s volatile political scenario negatively affected RMC’s performance. But the civic body should have paid more attention to revenue generation. This would have helped it carry out essential works such as road repairs,” observed Ganesh Reddy, a resident of Nibaranpur.