Continuing our Mumbai Civic Diary series, our organisation in focus is the The Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai popularly known by its abbreviated form BMC which stands for Brihanmumbai Mahanagar Palika.
Working at BMC must be a challenging task because it is responsible for providing virtually all civic amenities to the largest metropolis of the country. Its duties range from providing safe drinking water, maintenance of roads, open spaces, public hospitals, waste disposal, running public schools to collection of Octroi duty and the list is quite a long one.
While it’s true that the BMC is forever being pulled up for poor maintenance of roads, especially during the monsoons, for clogging of drains and water logging in low lying areas, for poorly maintained public hospital and public spaces, we must realize that they have a challenging task at hand. But before we discuss these points, lets travel a little back in time to the British era.
History of the MCGM / BMC
The year was 1865 when the BMC or the Bombay Municipal Corporation came into being, headed by a Commissioner Arthur Crawford as it’s first head. The renowned Crawford market was named in his honour. The BMC demolished the walls of Fort and built new roads. It also convinced residents to construct indoor toilets and worked on the storm water drainage system. The BMC was also responsible for construction of wells, rain water harvesting and building tanks maintenance of reservoirs and lakes to the city to supply water.
Old records suggest that the current nature and the role that BMC plays has not only evolved greatly but to a large extent draws from its erstwhile functions. The current headquarters was built in the year 1893 and is a great example of amalgamation of the Indo-Sarcenic styles with the Neo-Gothic architecture. Leaders such as Dadabhai Nowroji, Sir Pherozshah Mehta were all members of the corporation.
Organisation Of The MCGM / BMC
The MCGM is headed by a Commissioner who is assisted in his duties by junior officers. He is the executive head of the Corporation and is a member of the Indian Administrative Service. He is assisted by 4 additional commissioners, who in turn are supported by Deputy Commissioners.
The city is divided is into six zones and further divided into 24 wards for administrative convenience. Each ward is headed by an Assistant Commissioner. Further, the Corporation appoints Heads of Departments of the numerous departments that work with a specific mandate such as Water, Health, Sanitation.
The Corporation is an excellent example of Urban Local Self Government as every ward is represented by Corporators elected from that ward. They in turn elect the Mayor of Mumbai who is the first citizen of the city. The Corporators form the legislative arm of the corporation.
Services Provided & Various Departments of the MCGM / BMC
- Health: Responsible for issuance of licenses to all entities engaged in production/storage of commodities. Eateries, restaurants, hotels are also issued licenses by this department. Registration of births and deaths, licenses to private nursing homes
- Shops and Establishment: Want to set up a shop? You would need to register with this department.
- Garden and Trees: One needs to take permission of this department in order to trim a branch of your neighbouring tree. They regulate tree cover of the city and also grant permission to hold meetings of varied natures (religious, social etc.) on open spaces and municipal gardens.
- Maintenance Services: Granting permissions for using Municipal roads for shooting, political meetings, religious ceremonies. It also looks after new and old street light connections, drainage connections and pay and park areas.
- Water Works: As the name suggests, this department is responsible for water connections and water supply.
Key Initiatives Of The MCGM / BMC
- Clean up! Mumbai: The BMC has entered into a Public Private Partnership with private security agencies to deploy Clean Up Marshalls who patrol the streets and fine offenders who litter the surroundings. This scheme has been well received, and now stricter conditions have been imposed on the agencies to solve the problem of misconduct, dereliction of duties by the Marshalls. The BMC also provides for waste collection using vehicles which are electronically monitored.
- Pothhole Tracking Software: One of the best examples of how technology can bridge the gap between citizens and local self-governments. The software enables anybody – citizen or official to click a photo of a pothole affected area and update it on the website www.voiceofcitizen.com. The engineer is alerted who in turn alerts the contractor responsible to fill up the pothole within 24 hours failing which he is fined. Recently, the BMC collected around 1.4 crore from contractors for delaying repairs. There is also an app for this service currently available on Android phones.
- Night Rat Killers: After the sun has set, an army of troops armed with a flashlight and a stick prowl the streets of Mumbai, killing big rodents that roam about. Their aim is to kill 30 per head every single night to make Mumbai cleaner and safer.
- Coastal Road: A 35 km coastal road has been proposed by the Municipal Commissioner connecting Nariman Point to Kandivali. The road will run parallel to the coast and some of it on reclaimed land and help ease the traffic congestion in the city in additional to adding beauty.
Modes To Reach The MCGM / BMC
- Control Room: 108, 022-22269472, 022-22694725, 022-22694727, 022-22704403, 022-24114000
- Solid Waste Management: 22617993
- Water Complaints: Mahim to Colaba 022-23678109, Bandra to Dahisar 022-26184173, Sion to Mulund 022-25153258
- Dog Control Cell: 022-23085118
- Garbage Control 022-24935687
The website of the BMC is e-governance friendly as one can track status of their applications for licenses and permissions. However, the layout is only Internet Explorer friendly and viewing it on any other browser is difficult. The website is not as detailed as it could be. The entire directory of important phone numbers can be downloaded from here.
Complaints: Citizens can lodge complaints on the number 1916 or by filling up an online form. They can also visit a Citizen Facilitation Centre at any of the 24 wards.
Right to Information: Citizens can demand information by filing an RTI application at the nearest ward office. This remarkable act has brought up a greater transparency in the operations of all civic bodies.
The Corporation is a great platform to be a part of the system and work towards development of one’s neighbourhood. Getting involved with the local Corporator, regularly meeting him and engaging in discussions on solving the problems of the ward will help improve the overall functioning of the BMC. One can also stand for elections, as there have been numerous independent candidates who have done commendable work in spite of not having no affiliations to a big political party. The new initiatives such as Clean Up Marshalls and Pothole tracking system must be lauded and supported by us, citizens as well.
Hope you find this post useful. Do tell us which other civic organisation would you like to see us cover next?
more on MumbaiMag...
Trending on MumbaiMag
- Snap Shots: Mumbai’s Up And Coming Candid Wedding Photographers
- Koonik: Making The Planet A Happier Place, One Baby At A Time
- Ink Your Imagination At Mumbai’s Ingenious Tattoo Studios
- Mumbai’s Secrets: We Bet You Didn’t Know Of These Hidden Treasures In The City
- Katy’s Kitchen: Authentic Parsi Food Is Just A Phone Call Away
- Trend Spotting: Shoes That Speak Volumes!
- Trend Spotting: Sing Along at Karaoke Nights Throughout The Week
- This #Weekend, Explore #StreetArt Installations Adorning #Mumbai’s Public Spaces bit.ly/12x8hLB 9 hours ago
- Looking to try something different this weekend? Idli Dosa Makeovers: Yummy South Indian Staples Served With A Twist bit.ly/128Jj4J 9 hours ago
- The Rise And Fall Of The ‘Daakiya’ And The Bygone Days Of Post Boxes! bit.ly/10Sy1iw via 1 day ago