Friday, September 30, 2011

Bidar DC office goes mobile

This is, perhaps, what is meant by taking administration to the people’s doorsteps. Bidar district now has a mobile Deputy Commissioner’s (DC) office. A hi-tech air-conditioned bus equipped with all facilities, including those for e-governance, to function as a DC office on wheels.

A brainchild of Deputy Commissioner Samir Shukla, the bus, costing Rs 26.38 lakh, has seating arrangements for 13 people and crucial meetings can be held while on the go throughout the district.

A projector, microphone, computer, racks to keep important files and curtains, you name it and the mobile DC office has it all. The office is also self-sustained with a toilet in tow and a mini kitchen to cater to the food and beverage requirements of the officials who accompany the DC on tours across the district.

“This is a first-of-its-kind novel initiative and the authorities concerned faced trying times finding a builder to design the bus-turned-DC office. The inner architecture was changed five times and suggestions were taken from the transport department to arrive at the final look,” Shukla said.

No need of a convoy

Shukla says that the initiative would eliminate the need to have a convoy of vehicles ferrying officials whenever the DC goes on a tour of the towns and villages in the district.

The bus would also be linked to satellites in the days to come to maximise the communication benefits.

The DC says the office-on-wheels would help save precious time as meetings (including power point presentation) will be held and information collected on the move. The pollution caused by a battery of cars following the DC’s car wherever he goes can also be reduced, Shukla adds.
The bus will come in handy even when the chief minister, ministers and senior officials come visiting to the district and all required information will be at one’s fingertips, thanks to the presence of the latest gadgets on board, the DC told Deccan Herald.
Shukla is also looking into more ways the bus can be made use of. It can also be taken to neighbouring districts whenever the dignitaries like the chief minister or ministers pay a visit.

However, there are a few doubting Thomases for the move. MLC Kaji Arshad Ali says that at a time when even the Gram Panchayats have all the necessary facilities, barring air-conditioning, the hi-tech bus is not a very big advantage.

It is beneficial

These days even the taluk centres have the required infrastructure to conduct high-level meetings. Also, holding progress review meetings amidst the people has its own benefits, Ali argues.

A meeting of the district vigilance committee, under the chairmanship of MP Dharam Singh, was held recently and MLA Eshwar Khandre raised the issue of drinking water projects.

When officials cited lack of funds as an impediment for implementing the projects, Khandre was quick to question the rationale of purchasing a sophisticated bus to double up as the DC office.

“There is no money to provide the most basic facilities to the people. That being the case, where was the need for purchasing the bus with grants under the Backward Region Grant Fund?” Khandre said.