Municipal Woes

Municipal Woes
  • 1
    Share

The Municipality, in any part of the world, is an important institution. It can even be stated that this particular institution determines the overall health, tenor and tone of a given locale. Kashmir and its city, Srinagar are no exceptions. Given the critical importance of the Municipality, it stands to reason to state that, to discharge its various functions, it must be managed very well, in accord with the tenets of efficiency, equity and effectiveness. But, hardly, in very recent times, have been municipal officials assumed office that the body or institution in contention has descended into squabbles and quarrels. While the spat between the Mayor and the Deputy Mayor has been spilled over to the public domain, other issues that will naturally affect the functioning of the Municipality have cropped up. This is as ominous as can be and, to repeat, will affect the functioning of the said institution. The major reason, besides personality clashes and other allied and assorted issues can be isolated to politics, and its concomitant, politicking. If this assertion holds, then the obvious solution to the problem lies in depoliticizing the Municipality. Among other things, the reasons pertain to the fact that once, generally speaking, a given institution, especially with generous funding becomes political and is politicized, it becomes an arena for patronage and its disbursal thereof. The word arena is critical here; it suggests and implies a battleground. Once this happens, competing political interests take hold and the institution instead of becoming a conduit for public welfare, becomes hostage to politics and politicking. These general observations hold for the municipality in Kashmir. It, too, has become an arena for patronage and politicking with the attendant fallout on the functioning of the institution, impinging upon public welfare in the process. Moreover, politicization of the said institution politicizes not only the agendas of its constituents but also the squabbles and quarrels spill over to the domain of the political too. All this, for the sake of the welfare of people and the efficiency and effectiveness of the said institution needs to change. This can, perhaps, best happen, when the municipality is depoliticized and then run along the lines of modern management practices, in accord with the original intent and rationale of the organization. Unless and until this happens, the municipality in Kashmir will operate and function as a subpar organization.