Mumbai - A traffic constable stops the car of an assistant municipal commissioner (bearing the BMC board) for breaking a traffic signal. He also slapped a fine of Rs 500. The BMC officer, whether out of honesty or hurry to reach the office, asked his driver to pay the fine and move fast. The constable stopped the car again. This time, the frustrated BMC officer looked out of window. This time, the constable told him thus, “Sir, this time it was not your fault. You may not pay the fine as such was not the grave mistake. I did it to let you know how the municipal employees harass common people like me. When I had gone to the civic office to get a birth certificate of my child, your employees did not give it till I bribed them of Rs 500.”
The utterances of this traffic constable put the officer in a fix. He said, “Please give the receipt of fine and let us go. If one makes a mistake, a fine is to follow. Don’t put the blame on me for others work.” One thing was certain that the words of the constable must be remembered by that officer.
If the civic staff harasses common people, they will also receive the same kind of treatment when their turn will come. The elections come every five years to teach a lesson to corporators, but what about the bureaucrats? What if they are taught lessons this way? The question is a serious one, isn’t it?
(This is an account of a formal discussion with one of the BMC assistant commissioner on the backdrop of BMC elections)