Nagpur: Nagpur Today, in a series of reports had exposed the dismal working style of Public Relations Department of Nagpur Municipal Corporation but the dormant administration often chose to turn a blind eye. And now when the Nagpur City did not find place in the list of ‘Smart City’ the shortcomings in the PR Department got bared more visibly. The shabby affairs being run in the department have been blamed as one of the reasons for dumping of the city from the smart list.
Now, the NMC Administration in an act of ‘better late than never’ has decided to upgrade the PR Department and place it in today’s hi-tech era. But this this decision has also come under scanner. Shortcomings in the PR Department were ruling the roost since years and now a sudden decision to upgrade it has raised many an eyebrow. It is learnt that the ruling party is planning to ‘hand over’ part of main work of the department to a ‘favoured’ private hand. A proposal of Rs 40 lakh contract has been moved to Standing Committee for its approval. And the committee approved it, too, in a questionable haste. The next move is float the tender of the aforesaid amount. The PR Department vehemently opposed the ‘upgrade move’ but had had to bend knees in front of a ‘united’ Administration and the ruling party.
Meanwhile, the Chairman of Standing Committee Sudhir (Bandu) Raut and other higher officials sought words from public over the upgrade move. Subsequently, Nagpur Today advised that before the upgradation, the employees of other departments who have been deployed in the PR Department since years should be sent back to their original departments. Capable staff could be retained or brought into the department. When the Administration decided to act on the advise another shocking aspect came to the fore. Except a peon, all other employees belonged to different departments. These ‘outside’ employees, by hook or crook, got themselves stuck in the PR Department and turned it a den of corrupt and inefficient men. Now, the Administration has firmly got itself activated and is mulling shunting of the employees to their parent departments for the good of NMC.
PR Department scandals:
The Department indulged and still indulges in a variety of scandalous acts such bribes for registration of names in NMC diary, unnecessary advertisements in ‘C’ grade newspapers and thereby pocketing commissions, shares in purchase of bouquets, flowers, printing of brochures, books, unnecessary tours and usurping of travel allowance et al. At present, the PR Department is doing every nasty chore except showering accolades on NMC through positive publicity. No surprise Nagpur was left out of the ‘Smart City’ list.
Upgrading PRO but sidelining upgraded media:
The NMC Administration is spending Rs 40-42 lakh in the name of upgrade. On the other hand, the NMC Administration is cold shouldering an advanced upgraded newspaper/agency that is active since the past over 1000 days. This newspaper/agency runs a special column on NMC’s day to day affairs and flashes reports within hours of the happening. This newspaper/agency was never given its due credit by NMC Administration/office-bearers/PR Department. The upgrade of PR Department would prove a futile exercise unless the advanced media is sidelined.