June 27, 2009

Make public the information

The e-mailed note below is from Shoba Menon. It was not directed to this column.

But I know she wouldn’t mind if I used it here.

Shoba has been heading a long and low profile campaign to protect trees and grow more of them. She is part of this group called ‘Nizhal’.

And in order to take forward her projects and sensitise people she organises tree walks. (There is one tree walk next weekend in Luz and if your colony wants to organise one, call 94452-58328).

Shoba, who is based in Kotturpuram is also a community activist. What follows is something she wanted to share . . . in her own words. . .
Wonder if people are aware of the online public grievance forum of the Chennai Corporation. . .
at www.chennaicorporation.gov.in.

I have personally made use of this facility and found the redressal system effective and quick.

You can register your civic complaint under the particular heads provided, or in ‘Others’. Location details and other particulars are recorded and if you provide a mobile number, the complaint number reaches you in a few seconds!

I believe that the complaint is forwarded to the local official concerned, and if it is not addressed in a stipulated number of days, is escalated to the next level and so on. Since no junior wants to be pulled up, the complaint gets resolved faster. And we can follow up too, with the Complaint Number provided, even with the Commissioner who can reach the status of the complaint online.

Once more and more concerned citizens make use of such facilities, the officials may just be forced to sit up:-)!
This was Shoba’s note. It would be wonderful if more and more people make public bits of information that the rest of us can use to pursue civic issues, address local problems and work for the community.

Our newspapers will provide space for such sharing of information. And experiences.


Sathya said...


Thanks for sharing this note from Shoba. I have used the RTI before to open up a park in my neighborhood but this could be a good first step before using the RTI. I registered two complaints - one about broken road surfaces and potholes, and a second about broken footpaths in my R A Puram neighborhood. I got two SMS' with my complaint numbers, within 10 minutes of filing them online. 15 minutes after that, the Alwarpet AE called me on my mobile phone. He has agreed to come see the location tomorrow. Overall, a good first step. I will keep you updated on progress.


Sathya said...


The AE did not come on the next day, but he came the day after. Before he came, he sent a crew to do a cleanup.

Previously, work done by TNEB and Metrowater had dumped a lot of debris and broken the footpaths all around us.

The cleanup crew the AE sent could not remove some of the large debris that TNEB and Metrowater had left.

When the AE came, he spoke courteously and listened. He has promised to send the crew back tomorrow with a truck, so that the large debris that was thrown on the footpath can be removed.

He also said that they are widening the roads in RA Puram (by making the footpaths less wide) and that all footpaths will be relaid at that time. He also said that road surfaces will be relaid within the next two months. We wait expectantly.

I wonder who we can contact to report how TNEB crews break up the road and footpaths and then never fix them after the job is complete.

Sathya said...

And on July 3rd, a truck did come to collect all the debris.

The status of both complaints is being updated online.

Sathya said...

And yesterday, July 8, all potholes were filled up. This process has worked so far for the small issues I raised. Time to up the bar!!

Ramanathan said...

Vincent - Though belated, I thought this ia a living and breathing topic. I am a regular user of the online forum and have mixed response to my online complaints. The issues that I have dealt with stray dogs, maintenance of TTK Road flyover and few other issues concerning public toilet and drainage.

My complaint regarding Alwarpet flyover is worth highlighting here. SMS were sent and I saw the complaint being transferred from one department to another before being closed that it will be attended. Its closer to an year now and the issues raised are still open. Host of VIP's pass this area turning a blind eye to the problem.

Online or offline it all depends on the attitutde of the Corporation Executives.

I am an eternal optimist