Dr. Avish Jolly, Chandigarh, 26th May, 2009 : Single window submission of telephone, water and electricity bills as well as Pass Port Forums thanks to the Chandigarh administration’s ‘e-Sampark’ centres that provide all such facilities under one roof. People can avail themselves of various services like submission of the value added tax (VAT), sales tax, telephone bills, mobile phone bills, passport forms, electricity bills and bus pass forms at these e-Sampark centres. With the success, the administration is planning to open five more e-Sampark centres in different sectors shortly. It has also identified 17 sites to cater to Chandigarh’s rural areas and involve village residents in the e-governance project.
With an overall business of Rs 759 crore in 2008-09, these centres of the Chandigarh administration have not only become revenue grosser but have made life simpler for residents. Started in 2004 under the information technology enabled services (ITES), the centres have already become such a hit that the 114-square-km city has 12 of them, including three in rural areas of the union territory. These centres, open from 8 AM till 8 PM six days a week (barring Sundays), are well-connected with the computers (LAN—local area network and WAN—wide area network) and use modern techniques to make work hassle-free. The number of transactions at these centres has touched the 200,000-mark per month, according to official records.
They have, so far, done business worth Rs 1,874 crore in just five years (till March 2009) after their launch. The e-Sampark project fetched Chandigarh the Golden Icon Award last year. Sanjay Kumar, Finance Secretary, Chandigarh disclosed that in 2008-09, revenue collection at the e-Sampark centres rose by more than 90 per cent. It was Rs 759 crore while in 2007-08 it was Rs 403 crore.
Sukhbir Kaur, President, dadadadi.org – a NGO working for senior citizens said that these centres are a big help to specially Senior Citizens because mostly they submit these bills. All these centers are air-conditioned, life of Senior Citizens has become easier in this hot weather and these centres are also coming up common platform for Senior Citizens.
Jorawer Singh, CEO, Olympus Management Consultancy Services Pvt. Ltd. Said that earlier we were forced to take holiday from our office to submit various bills but now things have become much easier. We appeal to the administration to open one such centre in every sector and these centres can act as models for other states to open similar centres in their territories. I think this is a firm step of the administration towards becoming the first 100 % IT-enabled city in the country.