STOP 1: Municipal Corporation of Hyderabad (10.30 am)
Subject: To know the status of my earlier filed request.
30 days have passed and still no signs that my request was even looked into.It started the same way again, tussles with officials of various departments. All of them blamed each other saying that it was the other's responsibility. I was frustrated. This was the second time, I was going through this. This time I was prepared to go the distance no matter what it takes(This may sound a little filmy, but this is true). I raised my voice saying that I will have to go to the commissioner if this continues. Finally they realised that i was not going to leave them unless they give me the information.One department official (clerk in the office of Asst Commissioner ADMIN) was very smart. He accompanied me to the advertisements department where the application was stuck. He told the officials there that I had met the commissioner and the commissioner was actually very angry at the issue not being looked into. (Actually nothing of that sort happened, that was only a trick by this clerk to get the work done as this clerk was responsible to give the information as he is the one who looks after these issues). Then they woke up, and assuring me that they would send the information to me in 1-2 days. I was a bit satisfied and continued from there.
STOP 2: Police Control Room, Traffic Department (12.30 pm)
Subject: To meet the DCP, traffic and file a couple of requests and also discuss about the traffic warden program.
I had to wait for nearly 2 and half hours to meet the DCP as he was very busy in the arrangements for Mr.Bush’s visit. Finally at around 3pm I went in and submitted a couple of requests.
Request 1: To know the amount of fines collected (official figures) from 1st Feb 2006 to 25th Feb 2006 from traffic offenders.
Again the first question, why do you want this information? He asked me whether it was part of my study etc. I told him that it was just like that I needed this information. In the mean time two other officials(one ACP and other DCP) entered the scene. One of them was very authoritative in his voice and kept asking me why did I need this information. He actually quoted an analogy that we eat only when we feel hungry. Finally I had to say to say something. I told him that I saw a couple of traffic constables taking money without writing a challan, so I wanted to check out how much is actually being collected. Then started the discussion (I would term it more as a Fight). The ACP was just fuming on me saying “ You are making a damaging statement on the entire police department. Why didn’t you complain to the higher officials when you saw that. Are you honest?”I was soon realizing why common public are so much afraid of the police. I was caught in between 3 police officials. But the DCP(Mr Anil kumar ,IPS) cooled down the atmosphere asking the ACP not to get too emotional. And he actually told him that “they are young people who want to know things”. The reason for which I went there was soon being lost in unnecessary discussions. But the DCP was a very good person from what I could make out. He showed the excel sheets where they compare fines collected in the previous 3 days and how do they analyse things. They actually deposit the entire sum in the Govt account daily. He told me that in 2005, they deposited around 10 crores collected via fines. One one day (24th Feb 2006), they collected over 5 lakh rupees. Those were staggering figures for me. It such was the amount that was official, the unofficial amount would easily be double. They can easily pay for the salaries of the officials through fines. He told me that I can collect the information on Monday. (That was very quick by any standards). He was very proud saying that the police was the best department where they take immediate action on any report of fraud by their personnel.By the time I left that place, Everything was fine and I could convince the ACP that he misunderstood me. So at last this was successful.
Request 2: To know if any permission was given by traffic police to park vehicles on the main road by those coming to the “Bottles and Chimneys” pub near begumpet airport.
I was always very pained by the way the so called rich and elite behave socially. They park their vehicles on main roads, break all rules and above all blame the illiterates and poor people for all that is going on. These people happily get away with offences. I was determined to take this to the police. The DCP directed me to the ACP punjagutta area for this issue. In the ACP’s office punjagutta, the people there took about 10 min to decide whether that place would fall in their limits. After deliberations, finally they concluded that it is indeed in their limits. After that they asked me when are they parking vehicles. I told them it was after 9pm and will continue till 1am. The police SI said that they usually don’t check after 10pm. The ACP there was very angry with the SI and directed the SI to take my request and note all my details. These days I feel very happy when I see less number of vehicles being parked on the main road. Still I am expecting the reply from them on what action they have initiated. There are some more locations in the city where there is exactly the same problem. (Ex: Coffeeday in jubilee hills on the way to madhapur)
Subject: To know the status of my earlier filed request.
I was by then exhausted after all that went on in the day. Here in the secretariat, the people have misplaced my request and they were unable to find it. I was very angry and started serious discussion with the Secretary to the Govt(an IFS officer). He assured me that by Monday he would call me personally and let me know the status. I left the place after his assurance. They didin’t call me on Monday. I had to call them when they informed me that my request was forwarded to director of school education and they will provide me the information. This was far better than knowing that my request was misplaced.What I generally observed in all these offices is that the higher officials are a little better in the sense that they understand our concerns. But the sub-ordinates are the ones who are spoiling it. We need not blame them also as they are not very well educated about this law. Govt needs to first create awareness among officials. The Police department also was very receptive to the concerns. This was by far the best department in all that I saw.They called me up on the “fines” request and asked if I was available so that they could give me the information. I will collect it next week.