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Karachi: How does one register a complaint about civic problems??
12-30-2008, 09:09 AM
Post: #1
Karachi: How does one register a complaint about civic problems??
By Farooq Baloch
Registering a complaint regarding civic issues should be a simple process but my recent experience showed how complicated it can get when there are multiple agencies controlling one city.

It was more than a week ago when on my way to work, I noticed a leakage of drinking water from a main pipeline running across Malir River. The leakage from this main line that has Chakra Goth and Bhittai Colony at one end and Defence View at the other was sizeable and could be seen at a distance. After reaching my workplace I called the CDGK complaint centre to register the complaint. The call centre asked for the exact location so that they could determine if the area falls into their jurisdiction. I told them the nearest place, Bhittai Colony (Korangi Crossing) in this case; however, they could not search it through their database.

They asked me to verify the Union Council of the concerned town and call again. What annoyed me was that why should I verify whether it falls into the CDGK’s jurisdiction or not. Secondly, I asked him to confirm if it is in their jurisdiction otherwise coordinate with the agency controlling the area in question, so that they can repair the line and save drinking water from being lost. To this, the attendant at complaint centre said that neither can he register my complaint as it is not in CDGK’s jurisdiction nor can he coordinate with the concerned agency. The attendant seemed committed and took nearly 10 minutes to search if the said location was under CDGK jurisdiction. He ended the call on the note that he would try to contact Korangi Town so that the issue can be addressed.

However, I noticed the same leakage a couple of days later, and then again after five days of the complaint. I decided to give it another try, but unfortunately the response from the CDGK complaint centre was the same. I then contacted the KWSB, DHA and CBC officials and asked them where to register the complaint. The KWSB official told me that I should consult the DHA for this, while the DHA official seemed unaware about the jurisdiction of the area. He did however give me the contact number of the concerned official, who took up my complaint and said it would be addressed. Finally, the complaint was registered and I was told that it would be solved in a day or two.

After this experience, I began thinking about why was it so difficult to find and complain to those responsible. Despite being educated and associated with a media organisation I found it extremely complicated to register this complaint, which made me wonder how an ordinary citizen who is not well aware about these agencies and their complaint centres would register his complaint.

Now, I want to put few questions before all the agencies controlling the city and those in power at provincial and central level.

The City District Government Karachi (CDGK) has authority over 33 per cent of Karachi’s land, while the rest, nearly a dozen in number, are being controlled by other agencies. Why don’t we have a single administration to address public complaints? Why don’t we have an easy process of registering complaints? If these multiple agencies have to continue, why can’t they coordinate and pass on the complaint to the concerned party?

Citizens in Karachi are fed up with continuous load shedding, shortage of drinking water, traffic jams, pathetic public transport, frequent street crimes and sky-rocketing inflation, among other things. Why would they bother to make a dozen calls to find out where to complain? Wouldn’t they rather leave things as they were? In my opinion, this can be resolved if those concerned take up the responsibility and on a single call assure the complainant that the complaint would be conveyed to the concerned department.

farooq.baloch@thenews.com.pk

http://www.thenews.com.pk/daily_detail.asp?id=154561
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