Novel plans ahead for City's development

Novel plans ahead for City's development

After seven months of taking charge as the Mangalore City Corporation Commissioner, Dr Harish Kumar in an interview with City Herald speaks about the challenges ahead, plans and programmes for the development of the MCC and the solutions to be drawn for the burning issues.

A partial view of the new vented dam at Thumbe which is an ambitious project of Mangalore City Corporation.

* It has been two years since the talks are on regarding the implementation of Solid Waste Management project in the city. Will the project be realised sooner?

We had submitted the proposal of the SWM project to the Urban Development Department four months ago, but have not yet received any response. According to the sources, the government most likely will not accept the proposal, though we have a hope that it will approve at least the single bidder’s third package. With the chances of the project implementation turning bleak, we have decided to wait till this month end and take further steps.

* In case if the proposal is not accepted, then what would be the next plan of action by the MCC?

If the government does not approve the proposal, then we shall look for other alternative ways for solid waste management. The current proposal consists of various factors including house to house waste collection, avoid the use of bins in public places, segregation of waste, mechanical lifting of waste etc. However, in the alternative method, we should give emphasis on cost cutting which means we will have to a avoid a few aspects including the mechanised lifting of wastes.

The term of present contractors will end on May 30 following which we will decide on the next course of action.

We will insist the government either to approve or reject the sent proposal so that the MCC can implement alternative plans.

* Despite the MCC initiating door-to-door waste collection with a bang, the initiative seems to be not going well in the city. What are the blockades for this system?

At present, we are collecting door-to-door waste from 35 wards in the city. With the term of the present contractors ending, they are not showing interest in door-to-door waste collection.

Hence, we have decided to make things clear in the next tender so that door-to door waste is collected appropriately. There are plans to pair two wards each and allocate each pair of ward to different contractors after June.

* What is the progress of the pipeline laying work for UGD in the city?

The pipeline work should have completed by March 2012. But we could not meet the deadline due to the problem in land encroachment in a few areas including the places where the NH construction work and railway tracks have been laid.

As far as the private land acquisition is concerned, there has been opposition from a few land owners to give small pieces of land for the purpose. However, I have already begun to talk to the owners in person and convince them which seems to be working out in a few areas.

 We will sort out the problems and ensure that the work will be completed by this year end.

*Any plans to solve water distribution problem in the city which seems to be worsening every passing year?

Though there is no considerable water source shortage in the city, the problem is with the distribution. In order to solve the problem, the MCC is thinking to change the water networks as the old networks are haphazardly laid in many places.

The government’s plan to implement 24X7 water supply to the city in partnership with the private players too is facing opposition.

However, the project could be implemented with a few amendments where the ultimate decision making and controlling power is laid in the hands of the MCC.

* The women’s park in the city which was opened at Hathill with much fan fair, seems to have not been taken well by the women. Has the MCC come up with any plans to revive the park?

A sum of Rs 21 lakh has been reserved for the development and maintenance of Vanitha Vana. Though the money is nowhere enough for taking up the developmental work, the MCC is planning to open a swimming pool adjacent to the park so that the area would have the crowd. As the area where the park exists is isolated, the women’s safety is a matter of concern.

We have received suggestions that a woman security guard should be deployed in the park, but then the question of her safety arises.

*What alternative methods have been taken up to meet the staff shortage in MCC?
At present, the MCC has 48 per cent of vacant posts. As the government has not yet called for filling the posts, we have called for the retired government employees to fill the vacancies.

With it, a few posts will be filled in a near future.

* Have you taken any initiatives to tackle corruption and bring transparency in the system?

On the first hand, the City Corporation has fixed CCTV cameras on two water supply tankers and a JCB to monitor their work. We would also introduce e-attendance system using bio-metric card, which is currently undergoing trial phase.

All the information and the live videos will be uploaded in the MCC website so that citizens can keep a watch on the activities taking place in the MCC.

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