BANGALORE: If you have been in the city for a while, there is no way, you would have missed a BangaloreOne (B1) centre, since it has become a household name. Started with lot of fanfare seven years back, the concept of B1 has spread not only in the city but other parts of the state too. The prompt services and pleasant setup at B1 centres has really attracted the citizens and one can see long queues at various centres, once it begins its operations early morning, unlike the government offices.
An E-governance initiative, it started in 2005 owing to the need for a one-stop shop where all services can be provided under a single umbrella. Of the existing 76 BangaloreOne centres in the city, 38 centres function 24X7, and the rest work from 8 am to 8 pm.
Right from paying your electricity bill, water bill, telephone/mobile bill and property tax, you can also buy a bus pass, book your movie tickets and pay your life insurance premium (ING Life Insurance service only). Not only that, if you have been fined for violating parking norms, you can even pay the fine amount at any B1 centre. Traffic Violation Payment service allows you to pay traffic violations fines such as riding without a helmet. Domestic flight ticket booking is also available at BangaloreOne centres. You can avail all these services without paying anything extra.
However, some services have been discontinued for many an unknown reason. Once Regional Passport Office services could be availed where one could buy a passport application form and apply for both new passport and renewal. But, later this services had to be terminated.
When we asked Sabeha, manager at the Vijayanagar B1 centre, also one of the biggest centres in Bangalore, she said, “The RPO (Regional Passport Office) has withdrawn the services. We do not know the reason for the same. Hence, our transactions have also gone down. Now, the RPO has its own Passport Seva Kendras to cater to the needs of the customers. The rate at which our applications for passport got rejected was also high.”
But, still the number of customers availing other services hasn’t really dipped as most of the customers come here to pay their electricity, water, telephone bills as well as property tax.
Another problem faced by the customers is that you can’t apply for a Death or Birth certificate in a B1 centre anymore. You will have to go to your respective BBMP division offices or one of the citizen service centres. BangaloreOne Coordinator for North Zone, Shiv Chander said, “ We don’t know why the services were withdrawn by the BBMP. They never updated us or provided us any information.”
Regarding booking movie tickets, Manager at the Basaveshwarnagar centre, said, “Usually, the theatres don’t give us any confirmation which is a problem while customers book movie tickets here.”
He added, “Transactions are going on as usual and termination of passport services hasn’t affected us much. Last month, my centre made transactions worth Rs 27,000 whereas a big centre like Vijaynagar easily makes upto Rs 50-60,000.”
With the expansion of B1 centres in the city, the authorities needs to do more in terms of its functioning, even on holidays with full staff, and also making it more user friendly especially for people who are not familiar or understand the quickness of the offered services.
Although, the Bangalore One initiative has a Help Desk with number 080-22955400/401, there is hardly any response to the queries put by the citizens.