Outgoing Civic Chief recounts major achievements

Projects take a hit < One-time relaxation within two months < G+ 7 storeyed permission soon < Recruitment for 249 vacancies soon
Report by: 
EOIC / Agencies
ROOPA LALL
19 Sep 2018

In September last year, Mr Indrapal Singh assumed charge as the Chairperson of the Port Blair Municipal Council. During his tenure, the civic body executed some notable projects and major initiatives were undertaken for the welfare of the citizens and development of the city with the Council stamping its prominence  in all spheres towards executing its mandated duty of serving the population and providing the best of the amenities to its citizens. Days before demitting office as the civic chief, the Chairperson of Municipal Council, Mr IP Singh, enumerated the series of development projects undertaken by the Council during his tenure and those in the offing, in an exclusive chat with EOI.

“Since assuming the charge of this prestigious body, my only focus was to develop Port Blair as an ideal city of the country. For me, ideal means a city which provides its citizen-the best of civic amenities, cleanliness, water and infrastructure. My effort was to ensure that the at least basic civic amenities reach citizens,” the Civic Chief recounted. After holding the post of Chairperson, Mr IP Singh streamlined many a things for the citizens.

        Being asked to list out some of his top achievements, the PBMC Chairperson asserted that a series of achievements has taken place during the last one year. However, he admitted that making all municipal services online by launching e-Nagarsewa portal has given him utmost satisfaction. He described the launch of the online facilities for payment of municipal taxes as a major step towards bringing complete transparency in the functioning of the Council as well as taking municipal services to the doorstep of citizen.

The Civic Chief informed that another milestone achievement of the Council is Port Blair city being declared Open Defecation Free. In order to achieve the target, the Council has opened 262 toilets in the city.

            Under the Smart City Project, all the conventional lamps in the city have been replaced with LED lights, the Civic Chief said and added that in-order to give vibrant look to famous Marine Park, a place frequented by visitors, the entire place has been illuminated with LED decorative lights attached to the electric poles. He informed that plans are on the card to illuminate all electric poles in the main roads of the city with decorative LED lights as done in the Kolkata city.

Opening of an open Gym facility at Marina park and works for two more under progress, one each at Joggers’ Park and Gandhi Park has also been liked by the citizen. These Gym facilities are open for the general public free of cost.

The scheme of giving cash awards to all those persons for collecting plastic bottles from the drains and nallahs and depositing the same with the Council has also yielded positive results since its launch, the Civic Chief asserted. The issue of Municipal Community Halls in various Wards lacking utensils and chairs which is necessary for organizing social functions came to my notice. I took immediate action and now every municipal community has sufficient chairs and utensils. During the last one year, municipal revenue witnessed a 100 percent surge in comparison to the same period in the last year, Mr. Singh informed.  

 

Projects took a hit due to non-release of grants

The Port Blair Municipal Council has suffered a huge loss to the tune of over Rs 125 crores after implementation of GST. To add to the woes, the administration too declined to release grants to the Council for taking up the developmental projects despite availability of sufficient fund meant for the Council. The precondition imposed on the Council for release of the grant was submission of utilization certificates. The administration should realize that due to lengthy rainy season, some PBMC projects automatically get delayed and Council too had to face problems for timely submitting the utilization certificates. The civic chief wanted the administration to take lenient view of such difficulties and as a one-time measure release grants to the Council so that all pending project can be taken up. The losses suffered by the Council following implementation of GST has also not been compensated by the administration and development projects of the Council have suffered a setback due to fund crunch, lamented the Municipal Chairperson.  

One-time building relaxation within next two months

The issue of one-time relaxation for building violations will be sorted out within the next two months. The Lt Governor and the Chief Secretary has agreed in-principle to extend the one-time relaxation. Once the final approval is obtained, orders in this regard will be issued. Sine 98 % building in the city are in violations of the building byelaws, the Council cannot afford to demolish even a single building.  He informed that the Council will start online approval of building plans within next two to three months. If all the criteria relating to the building plans fit into the online portal, approval for the plan will be granted automatically. In case, Council does not respond to the plans submitted by the citizens, it can be considered automatically accepted.

 

Council to permit G+ 7 storeyed buildings

Good news for the islands as the Port Blair Municipal Council is preparing to sanction plans for buildings up to eight storied i.e. Ground floor and seven stories. In an interview to EOI, the civic chief informed that since revenue land in the islands is limited and people having small portions of land are facing problems in constructing building in the limited space, the Council is working on a plan for giving approval for building plans of G + 7 storied. This means people here can construct about eight storied buildings. On being asked about the islands falling in seismic zone ‘V’ which is considered earthquake prone, the civic chief said to deal with the problems, talks are on to utilise Japanese technology. Experts from related government agencies here will work out for guidelines on this issue with experts from Japan and come out with some viable solution.

249 vacant posts to be filled up soon

The civic body will soon fill 249 posts laying vacant in the Council. These posts will be given to the temporary employees of the Council on seniority basis. The post was laying vacant for several years. The proposal send by the Council was rejected by the administration. The employee union affiliated with the BJP went to the Court of Law from where they were able to get a decision favourable to them, the civic chief said.