TOGETHERVCAN’S SOCIAL SANCHAR – ASHOKA FELLOWS CONNECT WITH DR. PALLAVI DARADE
V Citizens Actions Network organised its second Social Sanchar of 2016 on 6th April 2016, at the Royal Bombay Yacht Club. The speaker for the day was Dr. Pallavi Darade, IRS, Additional Municipal Commissioner, City, MCGM.
In her role as the Additional Municipal Commissioner, Dr. Darade holds the charge of some of the most essential departments that impact us daily, including Solid Waste Management, Education, Licenses, Shops & Establishments, Encroachment (which includes the ever controversial issue of Hawkers), Planning, and Mega City Projects. This is in addition to overseeing all the Municipal Wards from Colaba in the south to Mahim and Sion in the north.
Apart from Dr. Darade, this event saw the continuation of the ‘Ashoka Fellows Connect’, a unique joint-initiative with the Ashoka Organisation, a worldwide network dedicated to the support and encouragement of Social Entrepreneurs in countries all over the globe.
Ashoka Fellows from all over India congregated at Hubs in Chennai, Delhi, and at the venue in Mumbai, to interact with the speakers and the public, and share their views and unique insights on the topic as well.
VCAN Managing Trustee Mrs. Indrani Malkani, who is also an Ashoka Fellow, began the programme with a Welcome Address in which she introduced V Citizens Actions Network, briefed the audience on the Ashoka Organisation and also introduced the participating Ashoka Fellows, as well as our networking partners. She then explained the format to be followed for the Social Sanchar.
VCAN Trustee Mr. V. Ranganathan then introduced Dr. Darade and spoke on the topic at hand. He drew on his own experiences in the government, including as the Municipal Commissioner, and made particular note of the many Waste Management initiatives that the MCGM had taken up, only to abandon later on.
Dr. Darade began her speech by discussing the various issues she tackled in the MCGM, and the challenges that she looked forward to. On the issue of Waste Management, she mentioned that as part of the Swachh Bharat Programme, Mumbai’s ranking on cleanliness went from 147th in December 2014, to 10th overall and 1st among Megacities in January 2016.
Incidentally, she herself was felicitated for this achievement.
The Ashoka Fellows were then asked to speak on their own experiences in their cities. Fellows from gave their insights on the situation and their contribution in Delhi, Chennai, and Mumbai.
The audience, both those at the venue and those online, was then invited to ask questions.
On the topic of education and vocational skill development, Dr. Darade mentioned the efforts that the MCGM was undertaking, and how they were exceeding their targets in some of their schemes, as well as making efforts to improve the quality of education in MCGM run schools.
She also touched on Public Private Partnerships with NGO’s in the education sector, but cautioned that there were challenges to be addressed before it could be successful.
Dr. Darade also mentioned that for a city of its size, Mumbai was making significant progress in waste management, particularly in certain projects that were largely overlooked by the media but which had been highlighted by experts all over the country. She also briefly covered the salient features of the new Solid Waste Management Rules.
Regarding the Deonar Fire, more than one lakh people living near Deonar were screened for respiratory ailments by the MCGM Health Staff.
In response to a question on the role of educating Citizens on Solid Waste Management, Dr Darade said that it was not the responsibility of the MCGM alone, but that Citizens had to take responsibility as well. She mentioned the successes she has had in promoting segregation and composting even in Slum areas, and that a massive campaign on educating slumdwellers on segregation and health related issues such as malaria prevention had been undertaken. She also spoke about the training measures undertaken for the MCGM’s own staff of Junior Overseers (JO).
When asked about Advance Locality Management (ALMs), Dr Darade spoke frankly that first the actual number of active ALMs needed to be calculated. She spoke about the basic duties of ALMs and revealed that only about a third of the ALMs in Mumbai were actually doing their work properly. She also mentioned that TogetherVCAN’s web portal was a great tool which could be used to connect and interact with ALMs, forming a bridge between the MCGM and the Citizens.
Dr Darade stated that while penalties need to be imposed on Societies and officials flouting segregation and solid waste management rules, creating awareness was also vital. She also highlighted manpower issues, citing the fact the MCGM was providing more than 18 areas of service to the Citizens of Mumbai.
Regarding measures to prevent more fires in Deonar, she mentioned that an SIT had been appointed to investigate the accountability of the contractor tasked to manage the landfill. She also listed measures that had been taken to improve security in the area, such as roads being constructed, borewells being dug to provide water to fire tenders, and gas vents being dug to prevent build-ups of methane.
To a question on education, Dr Darade mentioned that tablets were being used to aid education in MCGM run schools. Speaking specifically on the content, she informed the audience that an in-house committee designed the content. She also said that around 480 classrooms were linked to virtual teaching centres. These measures have drawn interest and praise from across the state.
Dr Darade concluded by stressing the need for a strong partnership between the MCGM and the Citizens.
Those whose questions could not be answered were assured that their questions would be forwarded to Dr. Darade, and would be replied to through email, while some of those present at the venue continued the discussion over tea and refreshments.
To view the photos of the event click here.
To view the video of the event click here.