Jaundiced Views

Location: Mumbai, India

Friday, July 22, 2005

Relooking at the BMC

There is a plethora of agency heads said to be running Mumbai - The Mayor, The Sheriff, The BMC chief, The Gaurdian Minister, The MMRDA Chief, The Chief Minister, The Governor, Secretary (special projects), Maharashtra and not the least ...err Mr 'Remote Control'

Well as they say, too many Cooks and No Broth !! Mr P.Chidambaram recently mooted granting autonomy to Mumbai. That this was vehemently opposed by Mr 'Remote Control', came as no surprise. The BMC has long been used as the Milch cow by the party controlling it. Infact, if it has the infamy of being the richest Municipal Corporation of the country and apparently the most mismanaged. It can really compete with the " Delhi Development Authority", which was singled out by Transparency International, a few years ago, as the most corrupt institution in the world.

Every summer, the BMC goes allout to proclaim the cleaning of drains, in preparation for the impending monsoon. Yet, if you notice, they inadverently claim to finish only 70-80% of the job, never 100%. The roads in Mumbai,especially during the Monsoon can be used by NASA to simulate the Moon Surface. Thank god for the recent good work done by MMRDA, on the Western Express Highways, which if had been left to the BMC, would really have forced one to take an insurance of the skeletal system.

The Working Expenditure of the BMC runs into Thousands of Crores and what does it have to show for. About 80% of it goes into paying the salaries of the pampered BMC staff. The rest, one gets no idea on what it is spent. The least said about the conditions of the Municipal run Schools, Hospitals and Playgrounds, the better. The BMC though is quite quick to mow done trees in the name of it obstructing the Billboards.

All these prompts another look at the way, the BMC's Mayor-in-Council system is run. It should be replaced by nominated board of eminent professional personalities from different strata of society. They could be given a fixed tenure and their accountability fixed.