Changes will be visible in 6 months: Doon Mayor
Wednesday, 09 January 2019 | Monisha Bahuguna | Dehradun–
After being elected the fourth mayor of Dehradun in November 2018, Sunil Uniyal ‘Gama’ has been busy getting acquainted with the range of issues affecting the city and the Municipal Corporation of Dehradun (MCD). Known to have risen from humble beginnings to his current position through diligence and work, he shared his views with The Pioneer on his priorities and plans for bringing about positive changes in Dehradun.
What are your main priorities as the mayor of the city?
Right now, one of my basic and main priorities is to improve the sanitation services in the city. Our plan is to maintain proper cleanliness not only in the city but in the suburban areas as well. Under the present circumstances, we are trying our best- also undertaking special drives like the fortnight long sanitation drive launched on Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat’s birthday which achieved good results. My second priority is to maintain proper street lighting in the city. We are also focusing specially on the suburban areas where there are few street light poles. Our attempt is to improve the situation in such areas too within six months.
What according to you is the major problem facing the MCD?
Dehradun city has about tripled in size in recent years. Forty new municipal wards have been brought under the purview of MCD which earlier had 60 wards. The main problem we are facing is that the staff strength has remained the same as it was in the past. The number of the staff in the MCD is less while the workload has increased considerably. Plus, the newly created wards have many problems too.
How do you plan to tackle the worker-related issues faced by MCD?
As a start, we are posting 10 more sanitation workers in each ward. For the newly created wards, we will be outsourcing the sanitation work to 320 workers.
How do you plan to tackle the challenge of managing 40 new wards when the already existing 60 wards still face various issues?
We are trying our best to maintain the facilities in the 60 older wards. For the newly added 40 wards, we will first focus on providing all the basic facilities in these areas. The city will see the changes in the next six months.
Recently the financial powers of the urban local body officials, mayors and boards have been increased- how this will help in better development of the city?
The Municipal Corporation which we call ‘Chhoti Sarkar’ was viewed as less important in the past but because of steps taken by the Chief Minister we have more rights now. Earlier, when we had fewer powers it was very difficult to pass any work, for every small or big approval we had to pass it through the secretariat. But now as we have the rights, work on any proposal passed by the board will take lesser time to start. We are thankful to the CM for this step will help us greatly.
What is your immediate priority after enhanced financial powers?
The first project is to upgrade the street lights in Dehradun, especially in the suburban areas. There are about 25,000 street light poles in the village area and a majority of them need repairs. The project to repair and fix the street light poles is about Rs 8crore which will be passed shortly.
Do you have a plan for improvement of public transport in Dehradun?
Under the smart city project, 35 electric buses will be started in the city very soon. Also, there are many modified two-wheeler vehicles, rickshaws and roadside vendors sans any written document of permission from the MCD. We will try to stop operation of such unauthorised vehicles and vendors which will also help improve the traffic system in the city.
What is your view on the unplanned development of the city?
The city has been built the way it is now, it is very hard to solve the problem regarding the structure. But, we can say that if someday a master plan will work that can be helpful for the city. Also, we hope that the smart city project will solve many problems in the city.
How will MCD tackle the long standing issue of vendors zone not being effective in the city?
We have issued about 1,500 licences to vendors but the actual number of vendors in the city is about 6,000. We will act against vendors working without licence which will also help develop a proper framework. Plus, work will also start shortly on the vendors zone plan under the smart city project.
When will the city start seeing benefits of the smart city project?
The smart city project is a major project. The city will start experiencing its benefits from this year. We too have approved some of the tenders for works like making of smart toilets. This project will definitely change the scenario in the city.