Patna High Court on Monday directed the urban development department to constitute a committee to study the functioning of Patna Municipal Corporation and suggest improvements.
The division bench of Justice Navin Sinha and Justice Vikash Jain said the committee — comprising experts, technocrats and bureaucrats — would give a detailed report about the PMC’s activities and also whether the number of staff and the expenditure incurred on salary and sanitation were sufficient to keep the city clean or not.
The committee would also give its suggestions to improve the functioning of the corporation.
The court passed the direction on a PIL filed by Sunil Kumar through his counsel S.N. Pathak seeking directions to the authorities concerned to take action to address the waterlogging problems in the Bahadurpur and Hanuman Nagar areas. The court expanded the ambit of the petition and a number of civic issues were included.
Following the court’s August 1 order to the PMC to furnish expenditure details of four months (April to July of the current fiscal) that was incurred on salary and cleanliness, the corporation commissioner Kuldip Narayan, in his affidavit, said Rs 19.12 crore was spent on the payment of salary of 2,528 officers and employees of grades I to IV. It spent Rs 21.65 crore for keeping the city clean, the affidavit said, adding that the sum was spent on the wages of 8,095 labourers, diesel, carriage charge and hiring of vehicles.
At present, there are 12 officers at the PMC against the sanctioned post of 22 while 231 employees against sanctioned 700 posts, the affidavit said. It added that there are 2,285 Grade IV employees currently working against the sanctioned strength of 4,000.
The bench was surprised to see the huge expenditure and observed: “It should look like Patna is shining but we are not getting it so.”
The petitioner’s counsel, Pathak, submitted that several upscale areas such as Patliputra, Kankerbagh, Hanuman Nagar and Jakkanpur went under water because of rain two days back. The court had warned the PMC during the previous hearing (August 1) that if the rainwater were not drained out within 48 hours, the commissioner would be prosecuted.