The elections for the Mayor of Odisha's Smart Capital City has been long overdue. Here is a reality check on the performance of the BMC when the top civic body of the State has been ranked at 25th nationally in the Municipal Index 2021.
As per the Municipal Performance Index 2021, Bhubaneswar with a score of 43.38 ranked at 25th place among a total of 60 less than million-plus cities. The shocker for the State is Bilaspur from neighbouring Chhattisgarh perched at 7th in the list of sixty.
When it comes to civic governance, the State's top civic body languishes at 52 in the list of sixty less than a million cities with a score of a mere 28.62.
As per the report, the vertical for Governance consists of four distinct verticals like Transparency & Accountability, Human Resources, Participation, and Effectiveness, expanding across 16 indicators.
A Reality Check
An image below provides a glance at how the BMC is faring poorly in many crucial sectors of urban governance like human resources management, though BMC claims that it has 3 employees per 1000 people in Bhubaneswar. The Smart City has scored below the national average score of over 30.
BMC Service Gaps
- Over 12 percent of posts are vacant in BMC which hinders delivering essential civic services to people of the Smart City.
- Storage capacity in City is not sufficient vis-a-vis the demand.
- Piped water connections around 35 percent.
- 15 million litres daily water supply gap identified in 2021, as projects took up in 2015-16 are yet to see completion.
- Stormwater drainage very poor in BMC limits
- High water logging instances measured
- Ward numbers 27, 28, 43, 48, 58,59 and 67 records frequent water logging.
- The gap in the sewerage network in 2021 stands at around 425 km.
- Nearly 6 lakh households are yet to be brought under sewer line network
- Urban transport is yet to address the demand
- The peak hour traffic is very high.
- Insufficient traffic management measures leading to congestion
- At many important places like Old Town, Poor road condition is conspicuous.
- Due to illegal parking, the majority of City roads are not safe for pedestrians.
- Only 26 percent of roads in the City have footpaths.
- Based on population, parks and green spaces are not proportionally adequate.
What does A BMC Report say?
- Because of low-density development and limited release of public lands for development in the core area, signs of urban sprawl are evident with constant pressure on new developments to locate in the city fringes.
- Lack of City Core- While major economic investments are driven by the private sector, no business district has evolved over the years in the city resulting in scattered development and a lack of a distinct city centre.
- Weak Public Transport system- Compared to national standards requiring 600 buses for the current population, the city has around 300 buses.
- Rapid growth of unorganized auto-rickshaws has also impacted transit ridership.
- Shortage of affordable housing options has resulted in an increasing informal settlement in Bhubaneswar.
Mayor Candidates Have No Clue
All the three mayoral candidates in the race have no clue whatsoever about the huge gaps in benchmark of smart cities vis-a-vis existing services.
Speaking to the media, neither the ruling party candidate Sulochana Das, nor the Opposition candidates Suniti Mund and Madhusmita Acharya have spelt their vision on the gaps and the outlooks the Smart City requires.