Garbage litters a Tharpakhna road in Ranchi on Wednesday, as the RMC’s helpline remains out of order for days. Picture by Hardeep Singh
The first thing that will jump to your attention — quite literally as the numbers keep bouncing on the screen — when you log into the Ranchi Municipal Corporation’s (RMC) website is an 11-digit number in pink.
The number — 1800 3456 539 — is the helpline launched by the civic body in 2012 to address complaints about drainage and other cleanliness-related problems. A thoughtful gesture indeed given the routine sanitation and waterlogging woes faced by the state capital’s residents. Only, it is proving to be of little help to the people these days.
The number has been dead for over a week with the authorities not bothering to notify civilians about it. So the likes of Nutan Kumari and Awadhesh Kumar were left disappointed every time they called the number as the line went blank.
“Last Saturday, I dialled 1800 3456 539 a number of times to inform about a clogged drain in front of my house. But the line failed to connect even once. I tried at least seven to eight times. Finally, I had to drop the idea of seeking RMC’s help to clean the drain and instead hired a local worker for the job and paid from my own pocket,” said Nutan Kumari, a resident of Lake Road.
Awadhesh Kumar, a resident of Bank Colony in Kokar, wasn’t lucky either. “I kept trying the number five to six times on Tuesday, but it did not get connected,” he said.
Exasperated after not getting any response on the helpline, Rita Lal called up on RMC’s landline number — 0651-2211215 — on Wednesday. “The person who answered the call passed the phone to a man, who instead of helping me started narrating about the manpower woes of RMC and how people were indifferent about keeping the city clean. Eventually, he noted my address, but the work is still pending,” said the Upper Bazar resident.
Public relations officer of RMC Naresh Kumar Sinha regretted the inconvenience caused to people.
“The phone is out of order and a complaint has been lodged with BSNL (the telephone service provider). I hope the connection will get reinstated within a day or two. I will personally look into the matter so that it is restored at the earliest,” he promised.
Civic officials said that the toll free number was manned by staff deputed in RMC’s IT cell.
The team registers complaints and forwards the same to the health officer for distribution of work.
However, when asked whether he was aware that the helpline was not functioning, health officer Ajay Kumar feigned ignorance. “We are loaded with so much of work that not getting specific complaints through the IT cell did not come to our notice. I hope the phone line will be fixed soon,” he said.