The Telegraph
Tuesday , January 28 , 2014
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CMC set to spread consultancy wings

Engineers of the Calcutta Municipal Corporation, often criticised for the city’s waterlogged streets or potholed roads, could be on call as consultants to other civic agencies, PSUs and private companies seeking their services.

The CMC’s monthly session on Tuesday afternoon is likely to pass a proposal to form Paramarsh, a non-profit company that will offer engineering and other consultancy services for a fee.

The CMC will charge about Rs 3,000 — a day’s salary for its senior-level engineers — plus travel and transportation costs.

“We have received requests in the past from national as well as international companies to help them prepare DPRs (detailed project reports) or implement projects such as sewer network and other work,” said Smita Pandey, the project director of Calcutta Environment Improvement Project (CEIP).

The Asian Development Bank-funded CEIP, a wing of the CMC, is building the sewer network in Kasba, Behala, Garden Reach and other areas.

Once the proposal is passed at the monthly session, Paramarsh will have to get the municipal affairs department’s approval before going to the registrar of companies.

Sources said the idea germinated when the CEIP received a proposal from a Ugandan company to help it prepare a DPR for a sewer network in October last year. “This will give our engineers exposure to new work conditions and challenges,” said an official.

To be honest, an official says, the CMC does not expect big names from the corporate world to seek help from Paramarsh. “At the initial stage, probably a municipality without the personnel or infrastructure to implement a large-scale project might contact us,” said Pandey. Besides, this could help forge unity in planning projects among adjoining municipalities, she added.

“Calcutta is one of the 24 global mega-cities that has a population of more than 10 million. Catering to the needs of such a big city is a daunting task,” said an engineer.

As of now, seven engineers each from the water supply, sewerage and drainage and electrical departments have been chosen for Paramarsh.

The move has not found many takers, though.

“The CMC is not fully capable of providing services to all the areas under its jurisdiction. Several places are yet to get potable water or don’t have streetlights or a proper sewer network,” said an engineer, skeptical about the project.