Opposition Leaders Pull Up BMC for Spending ₹2 Crore Annually To Manage Civic Social Media Accounts

Opposition Leaders Pull Up BMC for Spending ₹2 Crore Annually To Manage Civic Social Media Accounts

Corporators and MLAs from across Mumbai have requested the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) to review spending on the management of its social media accounts, including 34 Twitter accounts. The civic body is reportedly spending nearly ₹2 crores per year for the handling of its online accounts. 

Opposition leaders alleged that the BMC didn’t conduct a technical analysis to ascertain the impact and the overall reach of the @mybmc handle along with 33 other accounts on Twitter. Several of these accounts have not even been verified by Twitter yet. 

The BMC awarded a contract for the handling of its social media accounts to S2 Infotech International Ltd in July 2019. Oddly, the contract was awarded to the company without a detailed tendering process. 

The contract was handed over to S2 Infotech until July 2022. The opposition has now demanded a fast-tracked tender process to appoint a new agency for this purpose.

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“We didn’t float a tender as Maha IT Corporation gave the contract to S2 Infotech International, which, in turn, sub-contracted the work to another firm,” an official was quoted as saying by Mumbai Mirror.

“Around 35 staffers, including designers and content creators, were deployed at wards and departments, to manage the handles,” the official added.

BMC Commissioner Iqbal Singh Chahal said that the agency received the approval of the standing committee to utilize social media platforms so as to provide real-time information to the citizens. 

“Active campaign posts, regular interactions and real-time redressals of complaints have increased BMC’s Twitter presence from 35,000 followers in July 2019 to 550.5 thousand now,” Chahal said.

“In fact, during the first Covid wave, since the Twitter account was overloaded with queries and concerns, an Instagram account was created; it has 235 thousand followers,” he added. 

Chahal further said that the civic body floated a new tender for its social media operations in March this year but the deadline has now been extended from June 10 to July 5 since BMC’s online services will be halted for a routine upgrade

Samajwadi Party MLA and corporator Rais Shaikh said criticized BMC’s management of the issue, adding that having multiple accounts only adds to the confusion. 

“A large population is not on Twitter in the first place... To connect with citizens, the BMC must have only one handle. Having so many unverified handles leads to confusion and this can be exploited by fake accounts to peddle false information,” Shaikh said.

Shaikh has written to Chahal asking for a new tender to be finalized while BJP MLA Ameet Satam and BJP corporator Vinod Mishra have also sent similar letters to the BMC chief. 

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