News : PWD Helpline on the Road to Inactivity
Kerala, India, Nov 6, 2015 -- The existence of the Public Works Department Helpline set up for the public to take up the issue of potholes on the roads and other defects on the roads, bridges and buildings works is under threat due to the poor follow-up of complaints.
From the 300 to 1,000 calls that toll-free number used to receive daily, the number has dwindled to the range of 20-30.
Of the 178 various complaints received in the helpline in the month of October from the 14 districts, action had been taken by the field-level officers of the PWD only in the case of 18 as on November 5. The figures accessed from the helpline for the January-October period also show the dwindling calls and complaints.
The facility, which is functioning from the Kerala State Transport Project (KSTP) office at Keston Road, Thiruvananthapuram, incurs a monthly expense of Rs.1 lakh, and is turning to be a burden on the exchequer. Six people work at the facility on daily wages of Rs.350 manning the helpline in two shifts.
Once the complaints are forwarded from the helpline to the respective PWD division, it is for the field-level officer to call up the complainant and take remedial action. But, the field-level officers in the division are not rising to occasion despite the PWD giving them mobile phones.
The poor follow-up of complaints posted through the helpline is the sole reason for dwindling public patronage and not the good condition of roads, official sources told The Hindu .
Complainants do not make it a point to approach the toll-free number if their plaint is not addressed in the specific period and this has come in handy for the field-level officers.
The toll-free number, part of the Public Information Cell, was developed and managed by the KSTP consultants. The helpline was initially used extensively by the public to inform the authorities about potholes on roads, and problems in other PWD works. The prompt action led to a surge in the daily calls.
The helpline became operational on November 23, 2009. The practice of PWD Ministers interacting with the complainants through the helpline had also come to an end over the years.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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A Public Works Department (PWD) or Department of Public Works is a common name for a government department or ministry responsible for public works.
Published: Monday, November 9, 2015