Serpentine queues for death certificates, olfactory challenge in every neighbourhood, ugly warts on roads, missing streetlights — the agony list of Mango is never-ending.
Civic amenities in this Jamshedpur’s bustling bridge-linked twin city, which hosts a population of 3,16,874 (according to the 2011 census), have taken severe beating because of acute manpower crunch in its urban local body that has been exercising jurisdiction in this non-Tata Steel command area for two decades.
For the past couple of years, the Mango Notified Area Committee (MNAC) has been doing with only six employees instead of a sanctioned strength of 35 (see box). To make time management even more difficult, multitasking MNAC special officer Jagadish Yadav has also been holding dual charge of Jugsalai Municipality since February this year. His skeletal team of five in Mango includes a head clerk, a sanitary inspector, an accountant and two peons.
“Shoddy amenities and laggard pace of work mirror the manpower crisis in the civic body. We have to do at least three rounds of the MNAC to get a birth or a death certificate. There is always a long queue of consumers waiting to pay their water bill or holding tax. Those seeking clearance for housing projects or building renovation have worse experience,” said transporter Vikas Singh, a resident of Dimna Road.
Apart from issuing key documents such as birth and death certificates, the MNAC is also expected to dispose of garbage, clean drains, construct roads, revamp culverts, install streetlights, collect taxes, revise voter lists and beautify parks. During peak summer, it needs to arrange for water tankers since the area faces a perennial crisis.
If vacant chairs affect documentation and other office work, the MNAC manpower crisis is all the more visible on lanes and bylanes, where mounds of garbage kick up stink and make commuting a harrowing experience for residents.
“We keep demanding regular cleaning, but our pleas fall on deaf ears. The MNAC is jolted to action only when we stage a demonstration. So, we have decided to launch a daylong fast near Mango roundabout on June 15,” said Vijay Tiwary, the president of Mango Nagar Vikas Samiti, a people’s outfit spearheading the protest for civic amenities.
MNAC special officer Yadav expressed helplessness, saying they were too few men for too many tasks. He maintained that cleaning work had been outsourced to a private vendor, which employed 150 workers for disposal of garbage. “However, we have just one sanitary inspector instead of 16 for monitoring their performance,” he said.
According to the special officer, appointments were done at the state level by the urban development department.
“We can only write to the headquarters, highlighting our difficulties. Accounting, correspondence and filing jobs are badly affected owing to the lean staff strength. We have written at least three times in the past, but in vain,” he said, adding that the MNAC needed at least eight more employees to improve civic ambience of Mango.
“The government is making cadre service rules, which is in the final phase. Only after notification of service rules can the department go ahead with appointments in local urban bodies. The rules are likely to be finalised by the end of this month,” said Shashi Bhusan Mehra, deputy secretary (urban development).