With no regular ward officer for the past six months, public representatives of south Mumbai's B Ward is facing sheer inconvenience in getting approval for a number of developmental works in this ward.
The B Ward covers south Mumbai's Bhindi Bazar, Dongri, Sandhurst Road and Masjid areas. According to the rules of Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), a qualified Maharashtra Public Service Commission (MPSC) candidate designated as assistant municipal commissioner is appointed as the ward officer.
The key responsibilities of the ward officer include administrative management of the ward, coordinating with corporators and monitoring the ongoing project works.
Earlier, Nitin Arte was in-charge of this ward. However after his retirement on August 31, there has been no regular ward officer in this ward. Presently, the charge has been given to Chakrapani Alle, who is the ward officer of the adjoining C Ward (Kalbadevi, Chira Bazar and Bhuleshwar).
"As there is no dedicated officer in our ward often our meetings get cancelled and rescheduled also, unless there is a regular official we won't be able to work together at the ground level," local Congress Corporator Afreen Shaikhtold FPJ.
She said that alongside the ward officer's post, two other important executive posts are also lying vacant in this ward.
"The charge for designated officer for building and factories is being given to assistant engineer of A Ward and there is no executive engineer for the maintenance of storm water drains and building proposal," Shaikh stated.
"B ward has a number of dilapidated buildings but the post of designated officer is vacant for more than ward," she added.
"As these posts are vacant the work pressure gets doubled in the other officials," stated a civic official working in this ward requesting anonymity.
The official also added, many developmental works have been stalled due to this reason.
"Usually the corporators give their idea in carrying out some work and the ward officer or executive engineer approves it, but we don't have these officials, which is why many projects are pending," the official added.
Harshad Kale, Deputy Municipal Commissioner, under whom the B Ward falls, said that the administration has interviewed a number of candidates recently and that the vacant posts will be filled soon.
"Due to the COVID-19 pandemic the MPSC has been postponed so we couldn't appoint a regular official for this post, we have interviewed a number of candidates in the rank of deputy chief engineers and chief engineers and the results will be out soon," Kale told FPJ.