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Friday, September 21
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Make them more Accountable

Make them more Accountable

Make them more Accountable


Mangalore Today News Network

Mangaluru, Jan 22, 2016: Two instances reported from Mangaluru recently have raised question marks about the efficiency of our government departments and local administration, despite the government’s so called maximum efforts to  make them more accountable  and their functioning efficient and transparent.

 

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The first instance was pertaining to the suspension of garbage collection works all of a sudden by the contract agency in Mangaluru while the second case was pertaining to the court decree ordering attachment of the property of Assistant Commissioner’s office  over non-payment of compensation.

Just when Mangalureans had a feeling that the  longstanding garbage problems of the city  have found a solution in the Advanced Solid Waste Management System introduced a few months ago, the contract agency Antony Waste Handling Pvt Ltd which was entrusted with  the responsibility of door  to door waste collection had  on January 5  suspended garbage collection works all of a sudden. The piled up wastes on roadsides naturally raised concern among Mangalureans and  soon there was news that the failure of the Mangaluru City Corporation to clear the  dues it owed to the company was the reason for the same. If the company initially claimed that the MCC owed Rs 10 crores, later  at a meeting  convened by the MCC, the company representative said the due amount was Rs 6 crores, while MCC claimed that it owed only Rs 3 crores. But for the good luck of Mangalureans, the impasse ended the very next day, thanks to the intervention of local MLA J R Lobo. Meanwhile, while paying Rs. 2 crore that was pending, the Mangaluru City Corporation had  issued show cause notice to Antony Waste Handling Cell Private Ltd. for stopping door-to-door collection of garbage without any intimation. In fact, this was the third time the firm had stopped collection of waste in the recent times.

The MCC meanwhile was of the argument that works as prescribed in the agreement were not being done by the company. "The agreement states that mechanised sweeping of roads as well as footpath and drainage cleaning works have to be taken up while in reality no work is done except door to door collection of wastes," Deputy Mayor Purushottam Chitrapur had complained.

 

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On the other hand  Corporation Commissioner  H.N. Gopalkrishna had something else to say. According to him inadequate collection of solid waste management cess was one among the several reasons for the delayed payment of service charges to Antony Waste Handling Cell Private Ltd.  Though the solid waste management cess is being collected along with property tax since 2015-16 ,  as against the expected Rs. 55.65 crore as property tax and Rs. 15 crore as solid waste management cess, the corporation has received Rs. 30 crore and Rs. 4.51 crore, respectively, he says and adds that MCC has paid Rs  17.69 crore to the company since February last.

Even in April last year, Antony Waste Handling Pvt Ltd threatened to end the contract of waste handling for corporation failing to clear the  pending Rs 3.51 crore bill amount to the company.

In another major development, that would have otherwise landed the AC office in Mangaluru in embarrassment but  for the hurried release of funds by the government, the city court had ordered attachment of the office property over non-payment of   compensation to a woman who had lost land for the airport expansion  project. A civil court in the city had passed a decree in favour of Christine D’Souza who was among the    77 people who had  sought additional compensation.

 But, following a special request from the DC, the government had hurriedly released  Rs. 34 crore of additional compensation pertaining to 77 cases.

The land losers had approached the court way back in 2006 seeking enhanced compensation for their land acquired in 1990. Meanwhile, Christine D’Souza filed a petition seeking execution of the decree of the city court.

In March 2011 too the civil court had similarly ordered attachment of the office property of the Assistant Commissioner of Mangalore taluk for not honouring court orders to pay revised compensation to the people who lost lands to Mangalore Airport expansion project.

What does these two cases indicate? Why is it that there is an inordinate delay in execution of such tasks which ought to have been taken up on a priority basis? When the MCC has taken up such  an ambitious solid waste management project, it has to take all possible steps to ensure  that the system   proceeds smoothly without any hurdle and that all payments are made on time while also ensuring that the company too sticks to the conditions laid down in the agreement.

Even in the AC office case, the authorities ought to have    pursued the case and ensured payment of compensation to the affected families who have been waiting for years together  after their lands were acquired in 1990. Had the AC office pursued the matter  and ended the impasse over higher compensation, certainly there would have been no room  embarrassment as  happened recently when court officials arrived for attachment of property.

It is high time, the government   make its  departments as well as local bodies more accountable and committed to ensure such instances do not  recur in the future.


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