Garbage spills onto Old Hazaribagh Road which falls under Ward No. 23. (Prashant Mitra)
It is an irony of sorts. The Ranchi Municipal Corporation elections are holding up regular civic work, belying the hopes of capital residents who are being showered with promises of better services almost everyday by candidates on campaign trail.
If collection of garbage has taken a back seat in most localities, the other pressing problem is water crisis.
Supply of water to at least two wards — Nos. 1 and 2 that make up almost the entire Kanke Road — has been erratic since Holi. When the residents called up the civic body, requesting for water tanks, the officials asked them to manage till April 8, the election day. Last year, the RMC had promptly sent water tanks on demand of the residents of affected areas.
Nitu Devi, a resident of ward No. 2 (Vidyapati Nagar, Kanke Road), complained she had been struggling to get in touch with RMC officials. “On Sunday, less water was supplied. On Monday, it was even lesser. I could not complete my household chores and neither could fill the buckets. My neighbours went through the same ordeal,” she said.
Left with no other option, Nitu and her neighbours then decided to purchase one tank of water. “We called up RMC, but all were too busy with preparations for the election to listen to us. Finally, one person gave us a patient hearing but requested us to manage with whatever amount of water we are getting each day as the staff were preoccupied with other works,” she added.
In ward Nos. 23, 24, 25 and 26 door-to-door garbage collection has virtually come to a standstill.
Vinod Kumar of ward No. 25 (Hindpiri), said garbage collectors could not be seen after Holi. “I called up the toll-free number. Though the RMC staff expressed helplessness in getting the garbage removed, they got the drains cleaned,” he said.
An official of the civic body, who did not want to be named, maintained that the electoral process should not affect day-to-day civic services like collection of garbage, dispatch of water tanks, fumigation etc. “Most ward councillors are busy campaigning, so the needs of their localities are being overlooked. At RMC, people not entrusted with any specific responsibility are also busy for reasons best known to them,” he said.
Naresh Kumar, public relations officer of RMC, claimed that garbage collection work had taken a beating as A2Z Waste Management Pvt. Ltd, which has been entrusted with the cleaning job, was changing the supervisor.
“We expect the problem to be sorted out within a day or two. It has been brought to our notice and we have instructed the agency to start work at the earliest,” Kumar said.
On providing water tankers, he said, “It is a fact that most officials are busy with election-related works. But if there is a need for water tanks, we will certainly send them. The initial plan was to introduce the service from April 15, now it seems we have to start it early.”