Srinagar: Every morning, officials of seven essential services arrive at Srinagar’s police control room (PCR) on a daylong assignment: to receive calls about daily issues faced by people in Kashmir.
The officials belong to seven departments: power development (electricity), consumer affairs and public distribution, mechanical engineering, Srinagar Municipal Corporation, irrigation and flood control, roads and buildings, and public health engineering.
Between 40 and 50 complaints are registered every day. The nature of complaints depends on the season. In summer, the complaints mostly pertain to scarcity of water supply. In winter, they are about power cuts. There is a reason why the complaints have to be heeded: in the past, whenever public protests have broken out against the lack or insufficiency of essential services, the anger has always been directed against the police. An official at the police control room said that the absence of a 24×7 public grievance unit prompted the police to set up such a facility.
“We receive numerous calls on 100 and most of the callers complain about civic issues. So we route these calls to the grievance cell, which notes down the complaints and takes them up with the departments concerned,” the official said.
Within a week, feedback is sought from the complainants on whether their issue has been resolved or not, the official added.
The register of complaints shows that people bring to notice of police even the wrongdoings of government employees. After the government banned its teachers from teaching at private coaching or tuition centres, people started informing about violations. One such complainant named three teachers who were flouting the orders, prompting the police to subsequently take up the issue with the department.
Poor home-delivery service of a gas agency was also reported. Director of Consumer Affairs and Public Distribution, Tasaduq Jeelani, said that his department ensures that complaints are resolved in a swift manner.
A police official said that while the majority of the complaints are resolved, there are cases in which no cognisance is taken. “In such cases we write to the divisional commissioner. He, then, writes to the departments concerned,” he said.
The new system of redress seems to be working. Adil Qadir of Harnag (in Anantnag) had a few days ago registered his complaint of lack of water pipes in his neighbourhood. When contacted by Reader, he said that the pipes are being laid.