The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation, more popularly known in India as the Brihanmumbai Mahanagar Palika Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM) and otherwise known as BMC, has been reporting stunning losses in its file and record rooms that are already presenting a good many problems to tax-payers in the Mumbai area. The BMC is the richest municipal organisation in India and is in charge of Mumbai city, which also makes it the biggest civic body in the country. Being in charge of most of the civic concerns and administration in the area, it is not only the go-to body when it comes to public works but also official and property records. Unfortunately, its functions may be in danger due to the lack of something few of its officials ever thought to need: termite control.
Several ward offices of the BMC have apparently been infested by these insects, which are notorious for the property damage they can create. The offices at Chembur, Andheri, and Ghatkopar have apparently suffered major damage already, and now officials are very worried. Countless documents reside in the BMC’s records rooms, and these are not just records of state but also ones that have to do with private property and the BMC’s direct interactions with the people. Around 50 lakh records such as property assessments and public reports are contained in the property tax department record room alone, and the estate department has about 100 lakh documents. A “lakh” is a unit used by the Indians in their numbering and it may be understood as translating 100,000 units. These are not meagre numbers. Now it seems that a great portion of these documents have already been lost, owing to the depredations of the pesky insects, and all because the ward offices had not instituted termite control procedures beforehand.
How does this affect the members of the Mumbai populace? In many ways. Some are already finding it nigh-impossible to get their requests for official ownership records processed, for instance, because most of the papers have been so reduced by the termites that they crumble upon being touched. Those working for the municipal wards shall find it difficult to access their pension and gratuities later on because the BMC may well be unable to find their official records. Even the BMC’s activities are being hampered: the Chembur office’s civic auditor was recently unable to complete the necessary balance sheets for the ward just because he could not find the documents required.
According to the civic department handling pesticide applications, they have been applying pesticides regularly in the offices, as per their duties. The problem, it is alleged, is simply that the termites are far hardier than expected, and might perhaps have been stopped only with very specific, insect-targeted measures of termite control. Whatever the case, it is clear that Mumbai’s civic body needs a bit of termite extermination to be done as soon as possible. For now, however, the only solutions really being taken are continued pesticide spray applications, which time may have already proven to be insufficient.