Citizens Aware, Builders Beware – Friday Gurgaon – 13-Dec-2014
December 23, 2014 - Uncategorized
Corruption-free governance and the resolution of conflicts between builders and RWAs in Gurgaon would be the two top priorities of the newly appointed District Commissioner (DC), T.L. Satyaprakash. He also would like the citizens of Gurgaon to become active participants in this endeavour for change. “The people need to speak out against corruption, complain to senior officials, and even come to me. They need to say No, if they want better governance and an improved quality of life,” asserts Satyaprakash. He is a graduate in Genetics, with interests in Economics and Public Policy. The Gurgaon DC likes to assess problems at a macro-level and wants to design solutions that are of a more permanent nature. He is most willing to dialogue with the citizens, society and the media, as he thinks that information and knowledge sharing helps in better understanding the various dimensions of a problem and in finding a ‘right’ solution. Considering the multiple problems being faced by Gurgaonites, and the speed with which the City is growing, he admits that the government does not have all the solutions. “The civic and social problems of the public cannot be resolved only by administrative outreach. We have to build an equation whereby the government, the corporates and civil society work together as stakeholders and solve the extant problems,” he asserts. As the head of Gurgaon Administration, the DC is looking to create space for civil society, and this would be primarily through the RWAs, to work together on policy issues and on implementation thereafter. For example, Satyaprakash says that a solution for the water woes of Gurgaon can be developed only when the ‘unauthorised’ demand is resolved and a viable supply solution is found. “Similarly there is demand for various utilities, which has created a black market, which needs to be accounted for if we want a permanent solution for these shortages,” he says.
Asked about the need for a Gurgaon Development Authority, the DC says that the people should look at the DC as the Chief Facilitator. “The district administration (together) will ensure that transparent administration is delivered. The different agencies working in Gurgaon will be strengthened, and the office of the DC will act as a bridge, to ensure that there is synergy in administration,” he asserts. He expresses confidence that good intentions and good work by his office will ensure that HUDA, MCG and TCP (Town & Country Planning) function in tandem and deliver quality governance. Describing Gurgaon as a challenging place, the DC says that there are two sides to it: on the one side people want to make it a Smart City, and on the other the capacities of the government departments are at a bare minimum. The institutional framework is lacking… and cannot be built overnight. The DC wants to delegate work to the citizens (maybe through RWAs), treating them as units of self-governance. “I want to empower them and delegate work such as UID cards and Voter ID cards, and bring them into various facets of local governance,” he says. “The massive problem of waste generation can be resolved if we can take RWAs into confidence. In no country in the world does waste segregation take place at the final destination; it is ideal at the start. “If people become active partners, a lot of problems will be resolved”. The Gurgaon Administration is also gearing up to use technology to map the City and to build applications and digital tools that can help in facilitating governance. “We are planning to satellite map and photograph the entire 1175 sq. kms. of the City. This would be done regularly. One of the uses is that it can help pinpoint illegal constructions or encroachments,” he says. On the 900 meters disputed area around the IAF Depot, the Gurgaon DC, while admitting that this issue is indeed a major and complicated problem, says, “We are going to follow the Court’s orders, and all construction after December 9, 2011 would be demolished,” he says. However, there is talk that the State and IAF HQ may agree to reduce the Depot area. When asked about the lack of adequate transport in the City, Satyaprakash says that they are working towards a holistic plan on this. He also plans to work with the police to set up more streetlights, and to ensure better technology and empowerment for policemen. Asked about how he handles the political side of governance, Satyaprakash says that the present government is giving hundred percent support to the administration. The CM has mandated transparency, and access to people. “We want the people to come to us, share their problems, and also discuss possible solutions,” he says. “Most importantly, the people of Gurgaon have to become active participants and stakeholders in the City’s governance. Only then will lasting change take place,” concludes Gurgaon DC, Satyaprakash.