The Pune Municipal Corporation's idea to invite suggestions from citizens to be included in the 2010-11 participatory budget has been well received. As many as 5,000 citizens submitted their proposals to improve civic amenities in their locality or solve a problem as against 1,000 suggestions received last year.While the concept was first coined by the PMC three years ago, lately the scheme has become more organized with application forms being made available on PMC's website with details about how citizens can fill them.
Janwani, an arm of Mahratta Chamber of Commerce, Industries and Agriculture (MCCIA), is assisting the civic body in compiling the suggestions and analyzing them.
While filling the forms, citizens were given options about the kind of work they want to get done, which includes road, cycle-tracks, footpaths, street-lights, bus stands, public parking, public toilets, water, drainage, waste management, gardens, parks and public buildings."It is a step towards better governance. We are currently in the process of analysing the suggestions so as to find out what kind of works have people proposed and from which area. The ward officers have also been very co-operative in accepting people's proposals," said Kishori Gadre of Janwani.
People's suggestions included increase in bus frequency, build public library, creating hawkers' zones, vegetable markets, underground cabling, cement concrete roads, pedestrian crossings, cultural halls, etc. November 9 was the last day to submit suggestions.
Gadre pointed out that the ward officers have also kept their budget meetings open for citizens and often explain to citizens why a proposal has been rejected, if it has been.
"Citizens are allowed to give suggestions for works costing up to Rs 5 lakh. However it has been noted that most citizens cannot exactly guage how much their proposal will cost. The ward officers explain if there is shortage of funds. From this year's experience, we are going to make changes in the process so that people get a fair idea of project costs. For instance, we will put up a menu on the form showing that a footpath of so and so length and width costs this much amount," Gadre said.
The Times of India
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