Dec 26, 2011

Pinpointing accountability for smooth operation and better urban governance

By - Anoop Jha

Overlapping responsibilities: is it a reason for disorder?

Every now or that there are apparent disorders and visible chaos in different corners of cities due to unclear or overlapping allocation of responsibilities among different governing and implementing agencies of city, like for instance - any emergency situation where everyone is confused what to do next, whom to approach first, who is to take action first. 

accountability structure in urban governance
Overlapping  responsibilities of Agencies
Like breakdown of a vehicle in right in the middle of a road stretch or busy road intersection, what next, it can be a nightmare for the vehicle owner; it can happen to anyone, anytime. Vehicle can be in a stress situation while on road due to several reasons, may be due to badly maintained car, may be bad roads with deep pothole, ongoing underground infrastructure maintenance work on road without proper warning signage, rash public transport driver, faulty road signal, improper unmaintained signage etc. Who is accountable for that traffic pile up and chaos following that vehicle breakdown? Is that vehicle owner, is that traffic management authority, is that maintenance department, is that some other department whose maintenance excavation is going on or someone else? No one is clear what immediate measures to be taken and who is to come forward to normalize the situation. No backup plan. Everyone shedding their responsibility, No accountability

To avoid the urban operational chaos and disorder in day to day city activities or in emergency situation a proper accountability platform has to be created where every governing agency and stakeholders would be made aware of their assigned responsibilities in every possible urban scenario whether it’s usual day to day or event specific function or an emergency situation. Role of an urban planner is to stipulate different possible urban event scenarios beforehand as well as assigning responsibilities to concerned agencies to tackle such perceived scenarios with the help of governing authorities.   

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