16 Dec 2008 - 6:01pm | Daya Nath Singh
Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) has been totally failure in providing basic amenities to the citizens of the city. Despite getting sufficient funds from both the Central and state governments, it is not in position to meet the requirements of tax payers, small traders and other business houses, which are the major source of revenue to its coffer. An appeal from a citizen for providing basic amenities is turned down by the authorities on the ground that the GMC has no fund for the same. Instead of providing amenities and developing the sources to benefit the tax payers, GMC proposes to hike the rate of taxes and levies from time to time, on those who already bear the brunt of existing heavy taxes. The recent proposals to hike the property tax and taxes on the traders to the tune of more than five times on the existing rates, are such examples, which have brought resentment among the suffering citizens, who have given a nick name to GMC as ‘Gol Mal Company’,
The reason behind the GMC’s failure is the lack of will power, courage and interest in doing something better to improve the quality of service and standard of the people. Its main concern is to arrange ‘salary and wages’ of its officials and workers till they are in the service. Its various departments have no co-ordination, due to which certain localities do not get supply of water and timely clearance of garbage. Complaints of the residents are not attended properly. The GMC officials do not bother to look after such complaints. A petitioner or complainant has to pay a fee of Rs.25 to the GMC coffer and even after that no response is given by the concerned officials. Verbally they push the matter to a junior staff and relax. The junior staffs on their part have their own problems and complain of the difficulties they face in their office.
In the name of eviction and clearance of encroachments also there is only a ‘show maintained by the GMC’. In the day a few huts are removed from the roadside and by the evening those are reset. There is no proper place to rehabilitate the people so evicted. No place is provided for them. Several people have to sleep and pass nights on the footpaths and during the day time footpaths are covered with a number of mini shops selling vegetables, fish, eggs etc. This practice creates a lot of problems for the pedestrians, who have to walk on the road risking their lives to the accidents. So what, certain employees of GMC collect ‘fines’ from such traders and ‘legalize’ those encroachments. These footpaths are also not safe for pedestrians as most of the sub-standard cemented slabs are turned to be ‘death traps.’
A section of citizens, especially professionals, are left Scot free of any tax burden, The members of certain organizations opposing the hike in taxes had suggested in the past to tax such people also instead of hiking existing taxes, but all in vain, the suggestions were turned down by the officials of the GMC.
On the whole, it is found that the GMC personnel are not practical and professional due to which they do not feel ‘where the shoe pinches’. Moving in cars and visiting the cities like Kolkata, Bhubaneswar, Mumbai or New Delhi for study of their systems, can not solve the problems of Guwahatians. For managing the affairs of Guwahati one has to think and plan on the basis of locally available resources. For the all round development corruption prevailing in the GMC, should be completely eliminated, otherwise it will continue to be the Gol Mal Company, as named by the citizens.