CUTTACK: With the Local Self Government Day approaching, the Cuttack Municipal Corporation(CMC) seems to have woken from its slumber to activate its ward offices lying dysfunctional for years. The realisation about their existence and functions dawned on the Corporation authorities only after instructions from the State government for the ward-level celebration of the day on August 31. All the 2,055 wards across the State will be commemorating the third anniversary of the ward office establishment initiative.
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik launched the concept of establishment of ward office on August 31, 2019, during the observation of Local Self Governance Day as a part of a key urban transformative initiative under the 5T governance mantra of the State government. The ward offices were the first point of contact for residents’ grievances and are expected to provide effective service delivery such as street lighting, drainage, road, public health, sanitation, and social security among many others.
However, the ward office, a key urban transformative initiative, had remained in a mess at CMC with most of them lying non-functional for the last three years.“The ward office established at Nuapada Market Complex has been lying shut for a long time. After being elected as corporator in March, the ward office was opened once in April that too with my interference to hold a meeting for the formation of ward committee,” rued corporator of Ward no 50, Santosh Bhol.
Similarly, residents of Ward no 59 have alleged that they have not seen the opening of their ward office located at Gandhi Smruti Pitha in Telengapentha for long. Meanwhile, ward offices of Ward no 21 are functioning from the CMC office in pen and paper, residents of Ward no 56, 57 and 58 are unaware of the existence of their respective ward offices.
The civic body which claims to have established a ward office in all the 59 wards is said to have engaged 23 tax collectors, 19 sanitary inspectors, 2 community organisers, 3 junior assistants, 4 junior engineers, 7 assistant engineers and a work sarkar for the facilities.CMC deputy commissioner Ajaya Mohanty (Enforcement) said that every ward has its own office and they have been instructed to open for at least two hours a day.