Open Letter to CEO Noida
Ms Ritu Maheshwari
Chief Executive Officer,
Noida Authority, Noida Noida
Over the years successive RWAs have steadily raised the fee without a proportionate improvement in the services offered. In my own colony Nilgiri 3 in Sector 34 the amount over the past five years has been hiked from a mere Rs 800 to Rs 1700 at present. Despite this increase ‘services’ offered have deteriorated for the worst.
Garbage is stewed around the colony largely in the area under the servant quarters. Though the Authority has provided two safai karmacharis to keep the roads and service lanes clean there are still large pits of garbage visible across the colony. There is no control on these workers who can be seen sitting on park benches. To make matters worse the cleaners provided by the AOA have created new dump yards within the colony where they accumulate the saleable items of garbage.
There is an urgent need to discipline the RWAs. In most colonies they exert a mafia style control over the residents. Year after year they manage to get themselves elected even though their work performance leaves much to be desired. While ignoring their core responsibilities some of these RWAs, like the Nilgiri 3 RWA, use strong arm tactics to brow beat residents They even try to deny the residents their right to go and come from their flats. Recently the City Magistrate had to intervene and warn the office bearers against their attempts to restrict the ingress and outguess of flat owners.
For the past decade and more the two RWAs which claim to represent groups of RWAs in Sector 34 have been headed and membered by the same set of people. Neither of these RWAs have any worthwhile achievements to their credit.
There is urgent need to bring about reforms in the functioning of the RWAs to make them pro residents and not a source of power and exploitation. This is the main reason why a majority of residents, in most colonies, do not want to be involved in the activities of the colony. They seem satisfied to pay their monthly dues and leave the running of the colony to others.
At your recent meeting most RWAs are reported to have complained that there are large number of defaulters in their colonies. Why do residents refuse to pay? There are obviously some who are free booters who love to enjoy services without paying. However there who do not pay because of the poor quality of services offered which are not worth the contributions made.
Investigation will show that there is considerable misuse of funds and wasteful expenditure. Though RWAs have steadily increased the monthly fees claiming rising costs, none of them are applying economic prudence to their expenditure nor are they looking for areas for additional revenues. In Nilgiri 3 despite the small size of the colony the RWA has employed six guards, three during the day and three at night, including two supervisors. At any time of the day or night these guards are seen huddled at the gate entertaining service personnel or friends. They are used only to attend to the needs of the office bearers.
In addition the entire colony is dotted with CCTV cameras all of them pointing inwards as if spying on the activities of residents. The monitor is placed in the guard room while the guards sit outside gossiping. The purpose of installing these CCTV cameras is lost because there is no one to monitor.
Additionally the sources of revenue collection remains restricted to contributions collected from the residents. One source left out is the collection of a fee for parking. In almost all societies in Noida the population of vehicles, of various types, has increased manifold over the past two decades. Most of the residents are going in for SUV which occupy more space.
Coming back to Nilgiri 3 the number of vehicles has increased substantially. There are flats whose owners own more than two vehicles. There are some who own three and even four vehicle. Some, who claim connections with the AOA, are using space in the colony to park vehicles belonging to outsiders
All these vehicles are parked in the streets and service lanes within the colony even though each flat has been provided a garage. Almost all garages have been converted into storage or residential areas. A few have rented out these to outsiders. This despite the fact that the Authority has decreed that garages cannot be used for commercial purposes.
Some gated colonies in Sector 34 charge a fee for parking which is right. This would help to increase the monthly collection which in turn will enable the RWAs to provide better services. Since Nilgiri 3 has been provided a garage all those who are parking more than one vehicle on the streets and service lanes should be charged a fee for parking at the rate of Rs 500 per additional vehicle. This could add almost Rs 20,000 every month, or Rs 2.40 lakhs annually, to the RWA coffers.
Flats in the colony have been priced by adding the cost of the entire land with the cost of construction. Ground floor flats had to pay a premium price for their location. All flat owners therefore have an equal share in the common areas within the boundaries of the colony. Those parking additional vehicles in the common area are encroaching on the rights of other flat owners. Since they are using this common space it is justified that they should pay a rent for their additional use.
As mentioned above most RWAs are being run on the lines of a mafia empire. The same persons are elected year after year. One would expect that these long servicing office bearers will deliver better service. This is not true. Despite their long hold the so called services have not improved but have become worse.
RWAs are formed to provide service to the residents. In Noida they have become platforms to seek economic and political favours. Unfortunately this is the role most RWAs are playing today. Any plan to make the RWAs more functional and service oriented will require reforming the system.
1.\tAny decision on the quantum of fees to be charged should RWA specific. A single rate will not work for all colonies and sectors. RWAs should not be allowed to increase the fee without the consent of all residents of the colony/sector
2.\tThe functioning of the RWA should be regulated to ensure that the office bearers follow rules and do not harass residents
3.\tThe Authority should create an online site dealing with the activities of the RWAs The RWAs should be made to upload their activities and the revenue and expenditure accounts for greater transparency
4.\tA limit should be placed on the number of times any individual can offer himself or herself for any office in the RWA
5.\tRWAs need to identify the essential services to be provided and their quality should be maintained
6.\tThe RWAs should be encouraged to seek alternative sources of revenue other than mere subscriptions from residents. Imposing a fee on parking would be highly beneficial
7.\tThe collection being made by the RWAs should not be called maintenance charge. None of the RWAs in Noida are undertaking any maintenance work. They limit themselves to providing security, cleaning and gardening services. These are not maintenance. Calling them service fee would be more appropriate
8.\tThe Authority should set up a window for flat owner to register their complaints not only against the RWAs but all service departments in the Authority
9.\tThe right to impose fine and duties should rest with the Authority and not be handed over to the RWA
10.\tRWAs in gated colonies should be warned against trying to stop the ingress and outgress of flat owners, their tenants, relatives, visitors and service people
11.\tProcedures with the Authority should be streamlined so that residents are not unduly harassed or made to pay extra for services
12.\tOffice bearers should not be allowed to use their positions to seek personal favours from officers of the Authority.
Several of the CEOs in the past have repeatedly called for the cooperation of civil society organizations to strengthen the services of the Authority. I am a member of a Trust, the Global Gandhian Trusteeship & Corporate Responsibility Foundation. We are involved in promoting Corporate Social Responsibility through workshops and consultancy. Like me, there are several NGOs operating in Noida who would be willing to cooperate with the Authority to make Noida a better place for the residents.
Suresh Kr Pramar
9213133042 14-08-19 2 more