Ever since the State Government decided to extend the boundaries of Municipal Corporation of Dehradun (MCD), residents of the new wards have mixed reactions on whether the decision is in their favour or not.
Even after about a year of new Councillors and Mayor being elected, local residents have still not been able to make up their mind about the decision. Many residents have the opinion that with the MCD giving new wards an exclusion from paying house tax for the next 10 years, they have also excluded them from getting the facilities that the already existing 60 wards have.
It is also important to mention here that it is not only the citizens of new wards that feel neglected but councillors also feel the same. MCD has the prime duty of keeping the wards clean, but with most of its programmes only operational in the city areas, the waste management system in newly incorporated wards comprising suburban and rural areas is still uncared for.
Councillor of Balawala ward, Narendra Singh said, “We have spoken with mayor Sunil Uniyal ‘Gama’. The MCD is planning to release a tender for garbage collection vehicles in the new wards. As of now, there are two private vehicles operational in our ward for garbage collection, but if required we can ask for more vehicles and five sweepers. Whenever there is a bulk of garbage at one place, we ask for a tractor or trolley from MCD and get it removed. The biggest problem is that local people have started using canals to dump garbage; sometimes even the canals get choked. It is important for people to also behave sensibly; we cannot stop someone from throwing their garbage into canals at 5 in the morning.”
Ajayata — Councillor of Nakraunda ward — said, “We have two private vehicles operational in the ward for garbage collection and eight sanitation workers. However, the services the private vehicles provide are not up to standard. We have asked for more vehicles and the mayor has assured that soon more vehicles will be made available.”
A local resident from Nakraunda, Sumedha Devi said, “Personally, we have felt no difference after this area was brought under the purview of MCD. During the election campaign they promised us a lot of facilities, but now that they have won they have not even tried to know what our problems are. The earlier local representatives or Panachayat members kept saying that the government is not releasing budget for them to do any development work in the area. Now, the local councillor keeps saying the same thing that they are short of budget. What was the point of including us in MCD area when the facilities we are receiving are still the same?”
A senior MCD official had earlier stated that the civic body is still completing the projects it had started in the already existing wards. In the second meeting of the present board, the issue of budget for development work that is to be done in new wards was raised.
The Councillors of new wards at that time stated that the pending money which Panchayati Raj department had later released to MCD was for the development work in new wards and therefore should be used for that purpose only. However, the old councillors deferred it by saying that now that the new wards are also part of MCD, budget should be distributed equally.