|Benett,Coleman & Co.,Ltd.
Setting a trend with speed and service:
Spotlessly clean floors, employees working in front of computers silently, walls without a single poster, neat boards on the doors indicating the departments, clean toilets and a touch of green with seasonal flowers and shrubs.
No, this is not a description of any corporate Office—far from it. It is a municipality office in a sub divisional town in North 24 Parganas district. Barrackpore Municipality is one government office, which lifts one’s mood and boosts morale.
This municipality is the only one in the state, which is earning a profit and generating revenue for development on its own. "We believe that better services cost money which people do not mind paying if the quality of services is satisfactory. Many other municipalities accuse us of doing business, but we do not care. We are happy and so are our customers and residents of Barrackpore" said Bijali Kanti Mitra, Office Superintendent, Barrackpore municipality.
This Civic body has been fully computerized since 1995 and has streamlined its operations so that there is no feather bedding and the number of people is to the requirement.
The work is done at an incredible pace. If the claims of the municipality are to be believed, 15 to 20 days at the most is what they need to finalise a mutation deed and registration of property.
"This is like a fairy tale even with most efficient municipalities of the state. The CMC itself takes at least three to four years for a mutation and equally long for registration." claimed Alok saha, a resident of Barrackpore who has recently shifted here from Kolkata after buying a flat.
The municipality avoids complications as far as work culture is concerned.
"A person is marked absent if he does not sign the book by 10.30 am sharp. We are here to work and do not want to make things unnecessarily difficult." says the office superintendent. He admits,"
This was difficult and there was resistance. But we had to overcome it." So, not a single poster can be found on the walls as the authorities have banned them So the municipality consciously acquired a new corporate look three years ago, making its office a delight to visit and where employees take pride in finishing their jobs ahead of schedule.
After renovation of the building the civic authorities decided to let out a portion of the building and earn revenue from it. So now there is a bank, a computer training centre run by the West Bengal youth affairs department and state electricity board office. The computer-training centre has been a success and is giving private computer centres a run for their money. The municipality building complex has become more like a resource centre where many services are offered under the same roof.
The municipality has made a rule that for the sale of each 11 cottahs of land, one cottah will have to be donated to the municipality. "We have created a land bank which is valued at about Rs. 5 crore," Mitra said. According to him, the ability to prioritize and use the resources judicially is what has scripted this success story.