Works, Revenue, Police, Health, Power among 10 most ‘corrupt’ deptts in J&K

Greasing palms, political influence only way to get works done

Mohinder Verma
JAMMU, Jan 21: In a startling revelation, the State Vigilance Commission (SVC) has found 10 departments of the Government as the most ‘corrupt’ where without greasing palms of officials and managing political influence common masses cannot get any work done.
These departments are Works, Rural Development, Revenue, Police, Social Welfare, Health and Medical Education, Power Development, Forest, Consumer Affairs and Public Distribution and Education.
These departments have been found as most ‘corrupt’ on the basis of large number of complaints received during last four years and hearing of these complaints in the State Vigilance Commission.
People by and large have come to the conclusion that without greasing someone’s palms or managing political influence they cannot get any work done in the offices of these departments, the State Vigilance Commission said in its latest report.
“Be it lighting of the streets, repairs to the local school building, availability of medicines in the Primary Health Centre, driving license, to get a small scale unit registered, an application to get loan from any State financial institution, an urgent surgery in a Government hospital or simply a complaint to lodge an FIR, obtaining Permanent Resident Certificate, obtaining annual pollution control certificate for industrial units, to get benefits of various social welfare schemes, distribution of ration, to get date of birth certificates and job card etc, common masses’ perception is that they have to pay bribe for all these public services”, the Commission said.
With this perception the people end up lodging complaints in all forums with the expectation that their grievances would hopefully be redressed. “As a natural consequence there has been huge influx of complaints particularly against these 10 departments”, the SVC said.
As far as Works/Engineering Departments are concerned, there is huge influx of complaints regarding alleged drawal of payments against non executed/non-existent works; execution of works without inviting tenders; splitting of works involving huge expenditure so as to justify the execution of works departmentally; use of sub-standard material in execution of works and non-deduction of taxes at source from the bills of contractors.
About the Rural Development Department, the general complaints are with regard to drawal of payments against non executed works; allotment of works on fake job cards; allotment of works to ineligible persons; providing of financial assistance under IAY scheme to the un-deserving persons at the cost of eligible persons; non-maintenance of records regarding execution of works making it difficult to ascertain as to when the work was taken up for execution and when the same had been completed leaving a scope for drawal of funds in respect of same work more than once.
Fraudulent mutations in violation of prescribed norms; tampering of revenue records with the ulterior motives of favouring un-deserving persons against monetary considerations; issuance of PRCs against monetary considerations; demand and acceptance of bribe for issuance of revenue extracts even to lawful owners of land and issuance of revenue extracts to strangers facilitating sale of State, forest and community lands are the general complaints against the Revenue Department and its officers.
About the Police Department, there is huge influx of complaints regarding false implication of people in FIR cases and extraction of bribe from them on the pretext of closing the cases against them; wrongful confinement of people for monetary considerations and demand and acceptance of illegal gratification for providing basic services including passport verifications.
Misappropriation of funds meant for down trodden sections of the society under various Centrally Sponsored Schemes; misappropriation of funds drawn on account of providing nutrition and non-nutritional items to various Anganwari centres; illegal engagement of Anganwari workers and helpers; opening of Anganwari centres in contravention of criteria fixed for the purpose and purchase of nutrition and non-nutritional items without following the prescribed procedure are the general and common complaints against the Social Welfare Department.
About the Consumer Affairs and Public Distribution Department, the complaints are with regard to misappropriation of ration meant for BPL and APL families; pilferage of subsidized ration by resorting to black marketing and pilferage of kerosene oil meant for distribution to rationees on subsidized rates.
Purchase of medicines and equipment for hospitals and indulgence of doctors receiving non-practicing allowance in private practice and diverting patients from Government hospitals to private hospitals and diagnostic labs and doing private practice during office hours are the general complaints against the officers of the Health and Medical Education Department.
As far as Power Development Department is concerned, grant of illegal power connections; theft of electricity by the people in connivance with the field staff of the department; non-initiation of action against the consumers involved in power theft; procurement of supplies on exorbitant rates and execution of works without inviting tenders are the complaints.
Illegal felling of green trees by timber smugglers and encroachment over forest land in connivance with the field officers and undervaluation of forest procedure and disposal of the same in an opaque manner are the complaints against the Forest Department while as in respect of School Education Department the Vigilance Commission is continuously receiving complaints with regard to appointment of ReTs in violation of norms; misappropriation of funds drawn on account of Mid Day Meals Scheme; procurement of sub-standard food for Mid Day Meals and misappropriation of funds on account of constructions being raised under SSA scheme.
The Commission has suggested the Government to go for system correction and strengthen internal vigilance in these departments. “The Government should make use of technology to minimize public interface in these and other departments and for redressal of public grievances”, the Commission said.
“Given the huge influx of complaints it is being felt that if the Commission takes cognizance of all these complaints it may have an effect of stalling the execution of developmental works and implementation of schemes”, the Commission said, adding “in this backdrop, it is imperative for the Government to go for system correction”.