Cleaning Delhi, through Facebook

Three thousand complaints registered, 99 percent addressed says MCD


Jasleen Kaur | January 17, 2011

Dhalao at B Block, District Centre, Janakpuri
Dhalao at B Block, District Centre, Janakpuri

When 22-year-old Piyush Goyal posted his complaint of garbage spilling over from the dump in his area, on the  Facebook page of Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD), little had he expected the civic agency to take action within 24 hours. But it did, pleasantly surprising Goyal.

MCD launched its Facebook page earlier this month to ensure effective monitoring of garbage lifting at areas under its jurisdiction. The civic agency has started off on the surest of footing, Goyal feels.

“When I heard about this initiative, I thought I should also post pictures of unclean dhalao (standalone garbage warehouse) in my area. I was expecting the action but never thought it will be so quick,” he says.

On January 8, he clicked pictures of the seven dirty ones in South Delhi’s R K Puram area and posted them on Facebook. And the next day, he says, he saw the pictures of clean dhalaos uploaded by the MCD.

“There is lot of transparency through this way. The man who actually cleans it asked me why I uploaded the pictures. So the information is going from top to the bottom,” says Goyal.

It’s a not even a month, and the civic agency has already received close to three thousand complaints. The agency says that it is mostly the youth that has shown interest and participated.

“This system is increasing transparency, fixing accountability and putting everything under public scrutiny. And none of us like to be ashamed in public. So people have started working at the bottom,” says MCD additional commissioner (engineering) Anshu Prakash.

If garbage isn't collected, or the garbage site is not cleaned, the citizens can register complaints on the Facebook page, along with photographs and details such as the garbage collection site number. There are 2,078 garbage dumps under MCD's jurisdiction and these are listed on its Facebook page.

The civic agency then takes action on the complaint and reverts to the citizen concerned on the social networking site itself.

Anita Bhargav, who initiated citizen’s movement ‘Let’s do it Delhi’ says, “This is a sanitation solution for Delhi. A tool through which citizen can participate in garbage cleaning.”

Out of the MCD’s 12 zones, sanitation has been privatized in eight. And the new system, officials say, has increased the effectiveness. “Earlier we did not know whether a particular site has been cleaned or not. But through Facebook, till date 99 percent complaints have been addressed and the response time is also less than 24 hours,” says Anshu Prakash.

The MCD control room which registers complaints from citizens monitors the Facebook page.

If the experiment is successful, the civic agency may later include more areas like public health and roads in the page.



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