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The BMC-Dignity Foundation "Joint Venture" Agreement
In line with Dignity Foundation's practice of providing structural opportunities to senior citizens for productive ageing, an Action Plan was worked out in February 1998 with the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) towards the objective of 'Keeping Mumbai Clean'
If a small city like Surat can achieve unprecedented success in cleaning up the city, so can Mumbai through senior citizens who can give the lead - that was the reasoning behind the programme.
This service is obtained in Mumbai alone.
Dignity Foundation (DF) has appointed from its subscriber database a total of 663 Dignitarians corresponding to 221 Zones of BMC spread over 23 Wards ( now 24). It has appointed 23 Chief Dignitarians who lead and monitor the activities in each of the 23 Ward areas. (as of 2010 only 12 out of 24 ward groups are active.)
The Chief Dignitarian in each Ward is responsible for mobilising, coordinating and reporting action initiated. He also initiates discussion for new ideas, improvement programmes, grievances, and solution by consensus.
The Chief Dignitarian also liaises with the local Ward Officers and undertakes supervisory roles wherever required - staff attendance, spot guidance to staff.
Dignity Foundation coordinates Reports from all 12 Wards and submits to BMC for the following action points:
Remedial and rectification action plan and implementation - results of group discussions that the Chief Dignitarian has in his/her Ward. Handling of garbage in assorted bags (degradable and non-degradable) and instructing residents to act accordingly, ensuring everyday clearance of accumulated garbage, responsible disposal of debris from building /road construction, measures for controlling the choking of drainage holes, and other cleansing work will be the first priority.
Suggestions for new/beautification ideas, and funding proposals using local initiative - planting of trees, introduction of potted plants, creation of localised manure through conversion of available garbage and other related activities.
Problem areas that require official intervention, and those that cannot be handled by residents alone.
Magazine Dignity Dialogue regularly originates articles promoting civic sense, report the progress of the Dignity Civic Service, recognise important contributions of local Dignitarians and instil in them a sense of pride in keeping their Ward clean. Regular reporting of Awards Winners and the actual stories that go along with the cleaning campaign will get published.
After some 8 years of organising and monitoring the locality-level activities, the ward groups are pretty independent, taking their own initiatives and maintaining the leadership of Dignity Foundation within the city municipal agenda. The Chief Dignitarians have a good bonding with the Ward Officers (now called Assistant Municipal Commissioners) and work along with the corporation on all campaigns and drives from time to time.
Ghatkopar, a suburb in Mumbai has the distinction of having conducted without fail every Wednesday meeting for the past 12 years in the ward office of the Corporation. The sole credit and recognition goes to its Chief Dignitarian Wilfred Pereira (78).