Cops empty pond in drought-hit town, corrupt officials disappear land
In Ghaziabad, close to the Delhi-Uttar Pradesh, land measuring 52 hectares has disappeared. Yes, you read that right.
According to the Ghaziabad Municipal Corporation's reply to an RTI request filed by a group of activists, it has no records of the land, which is estimated to be worth about Rs 1,890 crore. The district administration, however, has detailed records of the land.
The activists alleged that the corporation's officials had given the land away to the land mafia, and removed its records from the Records Office. "It was demarcated into plots and sold illegally by the mafia with the connivance of corporation officers," said the activist Suresh Tomar. "The RTI exposed this game of officers and the land mafia."
He added that the corporation's officers cold not produce "documents, videos or maps of the land" when the activists asked for them.
According to a source in the GMC, the land mafia "owns some land that is contiguous with the corporation land". "They use the identifying numbers of their own land, but show and sell the buyer the adjacent corporation plots. If anyone complains, GMC officers look at the documents of the mafia and endorse the sale as legal," the source said.
After the matter was brought to her notice, Ghaziabad mayor Anshu Verma wrote to the municipal commissioner "to inquire into the complaint". She assured the activists that "in no way will the mafia be allowed to take the land". The municipal commissioner, meanwhile, said "anyone guilty in this matter will not be spared. The land will be inspected and the papers will be verified."
Count on our "public servants" to show utter insensitivity towards ordinary people even in the most desperate of times.
Early this week, the police in Sannuja in Ambikapur, Chhattisgarh, emptied thousands of litres of water out of a pond - to search for goods stolen from a bank. This when the drought-hit town is reeling from a severe water shortage.
Although the pond wasn't clean enough to supply drinking water to the local people, it helped reduce the stress on the limited water sources by providing for the cattle.
After a local bank was robbed, the police reportedly found a "computer part" from near the pond. Believing the other "stolen goods" had been dumped into the pond, the police began pumping out water. It took them until the next day to empty the pond completely. What did they find? A CPU.
Called out on their reckless act, the police officers furnished a "permission letter" from the owner of the pond. "It's a private pond .We found a CPU in the pond. We were hopeful of finding many other goods taken from the bank as well, so we emptied the pond. It was given in writing to the owner," said R S Nayak, SP of Sannuja.
The panchayat leaders who did not object to the police's recklessness, are ducking the blame by saying they could not do anything because it was "a non-government pond". "We didn't know so much water was being wasted. In any case, had it been a government pond, we would certainly have protested," said Hindlal Penkra, the sarpanch.
While queues of patients at the All Indian Institute of Medical Science in Raipur are increasing by the day, doctors are becoming hard to find.
When the hospital was opened in September 2012, the first batch of 57 doctors was brought from Delhi. In 2013, the process for appointing the second batch of doctors was initiated. It took three years to complete, and resulted in the recruitment of 42 doctors. But only eight have joined so far, six of them as professors.
According to medical experts, "stringent job conditions is the primary reasons behind the lack of interest among doctors in working at Raipur AIIMS".
And what are the "stringent conditions"? The doctors are barred from practising privately even though the salary is lower than what private hospitals offer.
Currently, 43 clinical departments are without adequate faculty, while the absence of specialist doctors means major operations are rarely conducted. As a result, medical students are finding it difficult to complete internships.
This has prompted the local MP Ramesh Bains to "express concern at the prevailing situation at the institution" to the central health ministry. He has also blamed the doctors for "showing more interest in working with private hospitals".