Are civic bodies delaying Resident Ward Committees on purpose?
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Are civic bodies delaying Resident Ward Committees on purpose?

Despite being approved six years ago, the Resident Ward Committee, which would have ensured public participation in the decision-making processes of MCD’s developmental works, is still far from reality.

Are civic bodies delaying Resident Ward Committees on purpose?

Delhi-NCR residents have long been demanding public participation in the decision-making processes of MCD’s developmental works.

Six years ago, Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) approved the proposal to set up Resident Ward Committee (RWC), an official body from every municipal ward comprising residents. Once implemented, RWCs would have fulfilled the long-standing resident demand.

An RWC was to be a panel comprising residents, municipal officials and area councillors in all 272 municipal wards. The panel was to meet once a month to decide on the utilisation of funds allocated for the development of municipal wards. RWAs and CGHSs were hopeful that RWCs will pave the way for transparency on utilisation of municipal funds and developments. 

The civic bodies, however, are yet to implement the idea.

In March 2015, South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) did announce the formation of RWCs in every ward under its jurisdiction. The Corporation had said the committee will ensure transparency in the system. It had also said that RWC will work under the leadership of the local municipal councillor. But the corporation did not walk the talk.  

RWAs have been asking for more say in the manner their areas are governed. While most development plans are designed for residents, RWAs have claimed that there is a lack of coordination between different RWAs of a ward and the municipal councillor, which often results in lopsided development and constant friction over decision-making.

With municipal polls approaching (April 22), RWAs and other public bodies have united to mount pressure on municipal bodies to introduce RWC.

Talking to City Spidey, Amit Agrawal, an RWA member from Vasant Vihar (South Delhi), said they will keep trying until RWC comes into effect. “We will approach the state election commission if RWC is not included in political parties’ election manifesto," said Agrawal. "They have been cheating us with false promises all these years, but now they have to work with the RWAs,” added Agrawal.

Ashutosh Dikshit, a senior member in United Resident Joint Action (URJA), said public participation was crucial for transparency of a system. “RWC is a great idea and involving RWAs and residents will ensure transparency. It is the need of the hour."