Citizens’ authentic feedback is a prime way of assessing the service delivery, says Muhammad Usman

ISLAMABAD       -   The newly appointed Chief Commissioner Islamabad and Chairman CDA Captain (R) Muhammad Usman has declared citizen’s authentic feedback as a prime way of assessing the service delivery.

Mr. Usman is the second high profile city manager after former Deputy Commissioner Islamabad Muhammad Hamza Shafqat, who is not only actively using social media platform ‘twitter’ to keep citizens updated on the policies, initiatives and progress of the development projects but he usually responds to the public’s grievances as well.

His predecessor Amir Ali Ahmed besides his remarkable job in the capital could not get himself involved on social media unlike his subordinate Mr. Shafqaat, who was ‘super active’ on social media. However, now the situation is vise-versa as the incumbent Deputy Commissioner Islamabad Irfan Nawaz Memon has failed to maintain the pace set by his predecessor regarding use of social media but it seems that the new Chief Commissioner and Chairman CDA will leave a legacy for upcoming city chiefs in this regard.

While talking to The Nation, the city chief maintained that citizens’ authentic feedback is a prime way of assessing the service delivery. “I must say that social media platforms help me a lot in getting to know real problems of citizens of the capital,” he said, adding: “It enables me to get to the right quarters immediately, and people share their problems more enthusiastically when they know that a real person is hearing their problems.”

He added further that he feels use of social media makes an officer more accountable and answerable directly to the public. Mr. Usman shared that in his entire career, he followed an “open door policy” and this is a digital way of keeping his doors open.

He said in my opinion, the case of Islamabad is very different because here all the departments keep themselves active on social media because a large audience uses social media especially Twitter to get their complaints reported.

He said for example, if somebody reports a complaint through an official gateway, his personal account will be a counter check on the redressal process because the complainant would know that he/she can bring this directly into my notice. “In this way, it becomes a multi-pronged accountability mechanism for the administrative machinery, where chances of deception become minimum,” he said.

Meanwhile, he said it is also true that sometimes people try to engage us with irrelevant problems. “No matter what response you give to their queries/ problems, they are not satisfied. Even if their complaints are redressed, they seem to have a personal vendetta or a personal gain in that particular issue,” the Chief Commissioner complained. He however added this causes a bit of hindrance but nonetheless, this practice is fruitful and its advantages are bigger than its drawback.

When questioned why he is using his personal Twitter handle instead of official, which could become an asset for upcoming officers in Islamabad, he informed that the existing official account of the Chief Commissioner office is compromised but we are trying to get hold of the account and secure it to make an asset for future use. “Once we get the credentials of that account, it will be resumed as it was running before,” he explained, informing: “CDA has its account and it is being used mostly.”

He further said that in the past, as Director General Punjab Food Authority, Secretary Health Punjab and Commissioner Lahore Division, he worked to make official accounts as assets of parent departments and left stable social media accounts behind and the same accounts are still running.