For the first time ever in the history of any civic bodies in the country, Howrah Municipal Corporation (HMC) has set up a team comprising youth and women from every ward to monitor civic amenities received by the citizens.
The move has been initiated to address the problems related to various civic amenities before any citizens approach the corporation or respective councilors.
The team has been named as ‘Mayor’s Cop’ and their main task is to move around in their assigned areas to note whether citizens are deprived of any civic amenities. Two volunteers, dressed in blue t-shirt with Mayor’s Cop written on its back, have been posted in each of the 50 wards.
As soon as they find potholes on a particular road even in lanes and by lanes or street lights in an area are defunct or tube wells are not functioning properly, they have to submit a report to the councilor of the area. The councilor will take up the matter with the concerned official of the corporation and necessary steps will be taken before a citizen faces much inconvenience.
They would also come forward with suggestions to the councilor if they find an area is not properly illuminated and there is a need to install street lights.
More interestingly, the Mayor’s Cops will also help to check construction of illegal buildings. They have been asked to report immediately to the local councillor if they spot any illegal construction coming up where they have been posted.
It may be mentioned that HMC has taken severe steps against many such people who tried to construct their houses or highrises illegally.
Whenever any company that includes telecom and electricity service providers dig road to lay or repair underground cables, it needs to take permission from the civic body under whose jurisdiction the work is undertaken.
At the same time they need to follow several other formalities before initiating the work. The Mayor’s Cop has also been asked to keep a watch whether any such work is being undertaken without taking HMC’s permission.
The team of Mayor’s Cop that works to help citizens to get better civic amenities is comprised of 50 youths and same number of women. There are 20 more youths in the team those are in-charge of supervising the 100 others.
Two Mayor’s Cops visit their respective wards in morning and move around the places whenever required. They underwent a one-month-long training under the guidance of the Howrah City Police. A section of Mayor’s Cops also assist the traffic police in managing traffic in the highly congested areas in Howrah. The HMC is also planning to organise training camps for the Mayor’s Cops and former officers of the Defence will train them.
There are at present 66 wards under the jurisdiction of HMC. The move has been taken for 50 wards and initiative has been taken to deploy Mayor’s Cop in the rest 16, which were earlier under Bally Municipality and recently the wards were brought under HMC. Each of the Mayor’s Cops gets around Rs 8,000.
It is learnt that Commissioner of HMC Nilanjan Bandhyopadhyay had proposed Mayor Dr Rathin Chakravarty to set up such a team of such civic volunteers. The proposal was readily accepted by the Mayor considering it will be of great help for the citizens.
Bandhyopadhyay said: “HMC has introduced the Mayor’s Cop expecting that the step will definitely help the citizens.”