Neither village nor city, Tibbi faces existential crisis post municipal upgrade

Neither village nor city, Tibbi faces existential crisis post municipal upgrade

Neither village nor city, Tibbi faces existential crisis post municipal upgrade

Two years have passed since Tibbi became a municipality, but proper government staff recruitment or development work has not been initiated so far


Hanumangarh, Rajasthan: Enduring foul smell and navigating sewage from overflowing drains are nothing new to the people of Tibbi in Rajasthan’s Hanumangarh district. The problem was there when Tibbi was a village panchayat, and it is still there, two years after Tibbi became a municipality.

A two-km road planned under the state highways through the main market is incomplete, though its construction began in April 2022. Drains have to be constructed on both sides of the road, but its work also remains pending. A drainage system built by the village panchayat was in place earlier, but it was damaged when road construction began. As a result, dirty water spills onto the main market road. 

Municipality office of Tibia (Photo - Amarpal Singh Verma, 101Reporters)

Councillor Ramamurthy Khanna agrees that drain water is found scattered in all important areas where people frequent. Prabhulal, a resident of ward 12, says dirty water is directed into the ponds without treatment for a long time, due to which the water bodies are stinking now. “There is a need to make concrete arrangements for drainage here,” he says. “No development is visible,” adds Balwant Ram, another ward 12 resident. 

Balwant Ram, a resident of Tibbi (Photo - Amarpal Singh Verma, 101Reporters)

Groundwater with high fluoride content is supplied as drinking water in Tibbi. People have been asking the Public Health Engineering Department to provide them with canal water, but their demand went largely unheeded.

Most of the residential houses in Tibbi are built on agricultural lands, but without getting leases. Residents want the government to regulate the colonies situated on such lands and provide leases for the houses built there.

According to the 2011 Census, Tibbi had a population of 13,387. At present, its population is estimated to have increased to over 20,000. Yet, the place is still seen as a backward and underdeveloped town.​​​​​ People also demand that the government should promote development by making a suitable master plan.

Tibbi is at the crossroads, being neither a village nor a city following the municipal upgrade. Even today, most of the posts created in the municipality office remain vacant. Result: municipality functions are not properly organised and necessary facilities are missing.

The municipality could have functioned smoothly if the government had appointed officers and employees to the sanctioned posts.​ When officers and employees are not present, who will do the work?Tibbi Municipality Chairperson Santosh Suthar tells 101Reporters. She was the sarpanch of Tibbi when the state government issued a notification to upgrade it into a municipality on May 20, 2022
Municipal President Santosh Suthar gives a memorandum to the District Collector of Hanumangarh (Photo - Amarpal Singh Verma, 101Reporters)

When a municipal office was established in the panchayat office, the sarpanch became the municipal chairperson and deputy sarpanch became municipal vice-chairperson. The 23 panchs became new councillors.  

Posts of an executive officer (EO), assistant revenue inspectorjunior engineer (civil), junior accountanthealth inspector, map navis surveyor and senior assistant each have been created. Except for the EO's post, all others were rarely filled. From July 19, 2022, to July 11, 2023, Tibbi Tehsildar Harish Kumar Tak held the charge of EO. However, due to lack of staff, he could not function properly. From February 12 to June 14, 2023, Sangaria Municipality EO Sohanlal Verma was given the additional charge. 

On June 15, for the first time, a full-time EO was appointed. However, three months after his appointment, Sumer Singh Chauhan was transferred. On September 22, Brijesh Kumar Soni took charge as EO, but he was transferred unceremoniously in less than a month. In his place, Chauhan was reappointed. He worked in that post from October 5, 2023, to February 21, 2024. At present, Soni occupies the post.​

The junior assistant and junior engineer (civil) posts were filled four and three months back, respectively. In the absence of an assistant revenue inspector, generating revenue for the municipality has been an issue. Similarly, keeping proper accounts has been difficult in the absence of a junior accountant, while sanitation has been affected due to the vacant health inspector post. The municipality does not have a single permanent sanitation worker. Cleaning work is outsourced.​​​ 

Notification was recently issued for the recruitment of 24,797 posts of sanitation workers from the Local Self Government Department (LSGD) of Rajasthan, but Tibbi will not benefit from this recruitment. ​ "The notification does not cover new municipalities. ​ So, we have no option but to outsource,” Soni reasons.

The present recruitment was initiated by the previous Ashok Gehlot government. However, it was postponed by the succeeding BJP government. Now the government has again invited applications, but neither the previous Congress government has kept posts for new municipalities nor the present BJP government has paid attention to it.​​​​ 

Under the Rajasthan Municipalities (Constitution of Committees) Rules, 1996, committees related to administrationfinancehealth and sanitation, and construction have to be formed, with councillors appointed as members. These committees monitor the functioning of the municipality and prepare the outline of development works in their meetings , but the formation of such committees is still awaited in Tibbi.​​​  

"It is necessary to have proper arrangements in the municipal office for the employees and for the use of the necessary resources, but no such system has been developed in Tibbi. To garner applause, the state government created various municipalities, but did not look back at them after that," says councillor Khanna.

Tibbi still does not have a fire engine.​​ When a fire breaks out, a fire brigade has to be called in from Sangaria, located 30 km away, or from Hanumangarh town, located 18 km away. By then, fire would have spread and caused heavy damage. Most of the incidents of fire occur in the crops standing in the fields," says councillor Saroj Khichar.

Saroj Khichar, a resident of Tibia (Photo - Amarpal Singh Verma, 101Reporters)

Municipal Chairperson Santosh Suthar tells 101Reporters that she has been trying her best to streamline the arrangements of the municipality, but due to the lack of staff and non-availability of budget for desired works, the expected results could not be achieved.​​​ "We sent a proposal for bus stand construction to the LSGD director, but did not get a response. A proposal has also been sent to construct a municipal office buildingwhich has not been approved. We have repeatedly given memorandums to the state governmentregional MP and district Collector demanding that adequate staff be  appointed, but even today the posts are lying vacant," she details.    

Avi Garg, Regional Deputy Director in the Bikaner office of the LSGD, tells 101Reporters that new municipalities were suffering more due to lack of manpower, though there is a shortage of staff in all the municipalities.

“We are sending information about vacant posts to the government from time to time. Appointment of employees and officials is a matter at the state government level,” Garg informs.

Due to the administrative standstill, residents feel that Tibbi being a village panchayat was better than being a municipality.

Edited by Rekha Pulinnoli

Cover Photo - Tibbi's pond stinks due to constant dumping of  dirty water (Photo - Amarpal Singh Verma, 101Reporters)


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