Thursday, January 18, 2018
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voluntary vigilance squads

To encourage people to also help the  civic authorities in maintaining the city clean, the officials should encourage the formation of vigilance squads manned by volunteers from each mohalla. They should be able to tell the authorities where a new problem is making its appearance.

Let these vigilance squads also inform the authorities about the encroachments or the illegal structures that may be coming up.
I may point out that the width of some of our prominent roads has been reduced by the dumping of building material on the roadsides. This is a common sight on many roads in Civil Lines. Why the authorities are not being strict in having these removed is a mystery.
I  may remind the authorities concerned that when Badal Chatterjee was the Nagar Ayukta here, he would go round in his car and whenever he came across a heap of building material, he would call his men, who would cart away the same from there. This was not returned till the owner paid big fine for misusing the municipal land. This is not all. Badal also raided marriage halls  and whenever he saw cars parked outside he would take action. He had also issued warning to the wedding halls to ensure that cars are not parked outside.
A wedding-hall owner told me in defence that how could the wedding hall be held responsible for  what a citizen does? He says that the wedding house says nowhere that the invitees should bring their cars along. If the invitees do come in cars they must make their own arrangements for it.
Since the wedding season will soon pick up in full swing, I would request the Nagar Ayukta to explore the possibility of fining or charging hefty sum from vehicle owners who park their cars outside. If they do not pay their cars could be craned away. The strictness will have to be observed only for a few days because thereafter people on their own would give up the practice.
Vigilance committees, if formed, can tell the Nagar Nigam about  these illegally parked cars as well as the building material dumped on pavements. The authorities should take the initiative. Something may then be possible.

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