The famous 2' X 2' Board....
by, 10-16-2008 at 08:07 PM (2102 Views)
All the time we hear and talk about corruption, corruption and more corruption. Recently I had the opportunity to put various Authorities to test, as far as their sincerity to fight corruption.
A family member needed to get a mutation of his property from the local civic authorities. A particular file had to retrieved from the record room. Now, this is a PA where I am fairly well known, since I have not only filed several RTI applications, but have also trained their PIO's and done the Sec 4 implementation for them. The concerned lady officer tried her best for retrieving the record for about 4 weeks but failed. Finally, I was asked to retrieve it from the record room myself.
The "reason" for the delay soon became apparent and due demands were made by the record room clerk and the peon. What surprised me was the brazen way that the demand was being made. I was made literally a prisoner in that room until I said that I do not trust you - first do the work then I will pay. They asked for another week to search the record (it pertained to 2001). A week passed and another visit was made only to be told the same thing again - pay or no record. Tried my best to convince them but once again they asked for another week.
On the next visit, when the record was still not retrieved, I lost my patience. I thought this is the time to put the 2' X 2' board you find in all offices, to test. The board gives the telephone number of CBI. A call was made to the number and a sleepy peon told me that no one is in office (at about 1230 Hrs). On my insistence, I was connected to the SP. He patiently listened to me and replied that CBI did not have the time nor was willing to put in the effort since the "amount" involved was very small. Each case costs them a lot of money and time and they cannot take up such small cases and waste resources. So, I asked him "Does that mean that the Government and the CBI wants me to pay that "small amount" and retrieve the record" ? "No sir, I am not saying that but what can we do?" "OK, in that case, please give me your name and I will complain to the higher authorities about what we have just discussed".
After some arguments and gentle persuasion, the SP finally agreed to call the CEO of the Public Authority. Within 5 minutes a peon asked me to meet the CEO (the Administrative Head of the PA). I was first asked as to why I had not gone to him directly. I had to patiently explain that if I started disturbing the CEO for each small thing, he will waste his time too, just like the SP from CBI.
The two people were summoned and flatly denied having asked me the amount. Now, being a bit smart, I had recorded the conversations of my last two visits on my mobile phone. This was replayed to them and both started asking to be forgiven. I later came to know that one of them has in fact been given his job on "compassionate" grounds.
But the irony of the whole episode is that in spite of the two employees being warned/cautioned and threatened to be suspended, I was still not given the record. It took another 2 visits over the next 4 days to get the record from that room.
Just makes me wonder, why even waste public money on those 2' X 2' boards ?
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