Most BWSSB staff aware of instances of water thefts, unable to act

Taking a keen interest to test the actual efficacy of its service delivery, BWSSB asked Bengaluru-based think tank, Public Affairs Centre to assess BWSSB’s services using its renowned Citizen Report Card (CRC) approach to include consumer and provider feedback to provide incisive insights.

Nearly 80% of BWSSB consumers reported lack of any check into water thefts, 41% received new connections only after 2 weeks, 94% remained unaware of water adalats, and non-availability of help desks and a lax grievance redress system reported by those who visited BWSSB offices are just some of the prominent findings from Public Affairs Centre (PAC)’s recently released study “Assessment of BWSSB Services”.

The assessment also disclosed that in spite of all these issues, 81% of the consumers were completely satisfied with the BWSSB services. Referring to the study, Dr Meena Nair, PAC’s Head of Participatory Governance Research Group said, “We at Public Affairs Centre (PAC) are very happy at how receptive the BWSSB was to consumer voices to help improve their service delivery mechanisms. Furthermore they were also keen to look at the actionable recommendations made by us.”

The study suggested long-term and short term recommendations which included the introduction of a four digit helpline number (which is already in place now), to better marketing of treated water, and developing an app for bill payment.

The study also revealed that 60% of the BWSSB staff were aware of instances of water thefts yet were unable to keep in check such incidents. Awareness generation remained a weak point with only 2.6% of the consumers accessing the BWSSB website; even among its own staff, awareness was limited to less than half (46% having seen the website). PAC recommendations also included elements concerning ways to improve sewerage systems with better interdepartmental coordination with BBMP, BDA and Pollution Control Board.

The study also suggested ways to enhance capacity building measures for BWSSB staff members and upgrade technology wherever necessary. A major recommendation that BWSSB has expressed its interest in implementing, is bringing in uniformity in plumber charges, in response to the finding that consumers (>90%) hiring plumbers were charged more, taking more time than those who applied to BWSSB directly.  

Based on user feedback generated through a scientific random survey of users and service providers, the study involved in-depth scoping exercises among a small sample of users and providers to collect information, which was then used to populate three type of data collection instruments – for consumers, for senior-level BWSSB officials and other BWSSB personnel and also included more than 2600 interviews that were carried out among stakeholders covering the city of Greater Bangalore.

ABOUT PAC: Public Affairs Centre (PAC) is a not for profit think tank, established in 1994 with a mandate to improve the quality of governance in India. The creation of PAC was perhaps the first civil society-led institutional initiative to mobilize a demand for good governance in India. The focus of PAC is primarily in areas where citizens and civil society organizations can play a proactive role in improving governance. PAC undertakes and supports research, disseminates research findings, facilitates collective citizen action through awareness raising and capacity building activities, and provides advisory services to state and non-state agencies. For more information log onto: www.pacindia.org

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