Chaos In Pune As Zilla Parishad CEO Takes Corrupt Officials By Surprise

As common people, we expect the ones in high administrative posts to bring about rapid change and listen to our grievances. And if that doesn’t happen, all hell breaks loose and we call for an immediate change in the respective administrative posts. 

However, when one of these common people manage to reach such posts, the same person who revolted against corruption keeps mum and becomes corrupt himself and this cycle continues. But someone has to intervene and break this chain else nothing would happen for the betterment of the society. This is exactly what the CEO of Pune’s Zilla Parishad Suraj Mandhare, who is also an IAS officer, is doing.

A Bitter Surprise

Since last week, Suraj has been covertly visiting Primary Health Centres (PHCs), village schools and offices to see how everything is functioning and also weed out officials who are incompetent and corrupt. However, he makes sure not to inform anyone about his visits by arriving in his private car, thus ensuring a completely surprise visit.

What he found was shocking - Administrative officials demanding bribes, misappropriating funds, taking arbitrary leaves from work and indulging in malpractices and even doctors neglecting their duties in PHCs. But Suraj was in no mood to tolerate anything that he saw and took action on spot. 

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On Tuesday, he met Pratibha Dongre, a gram sevak in a Pune village who claimed to have forgotten to maintain financial records for almost a year! Suraj wasted no time and immediately sat with her to cross-check all the available records, only to discovered that while she had received payment for official work, the villagers never got a receipt. Pratibha was suspended her on spot.

The next day, Suraj reached Ketkawle village in Pune where he found out that gram sevak Sujay Poman had locked up his office and left for a holiday, that too on a working day! No official leave application was filed and his co-workers, who followed suit, weren’t at work as well. The citizens were thus left with pending work without any sort of official notice. Like Pratibha, Sujay also received a suspension letter from the IAS officer immediately.

Similarly, at Haveli’s Manjri, village development officer PM Lonkar was caught red-handed on Monday while accepting a bribe from villagers to register an illegal construction.

No Escaping The Crosshair 

The hawk’s eye vigil of the IAS officer also extended to PHCs in multiple locations, whose medical staff were sent show-cause notices for observed lapses like absence, uncleanliness and not keeping records of financial transactions. At Nasarapur and Yevase in Maval, two PHC doctors were show-caused for a number of lapses seen during Suraj’s surprise visit last Saturday.

In the Junnar Taluka, a Class I Block Development Officer (BDO) was demanding Rs 10,000 as a bribe to release an arrear of benefits to a subordinate amounting to Rs 2.07 lakh from a subordinate officer. When the recording of the telephoning conversation reached Suraj, he suspended the BDO.

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“At many PHCs and Zilla Parishad-run schools, issues of funding or manpower no longer exist. But, lacunae are still rampant while providing services to citizens. Now, these will be met with a zero-tolerance approach — which will continue till satisfactory performances by staff become the norm. We are also pegging the responsibility on immediate supervisors of ensuring that no repetition of such conduct, which maligns the government, is seen.” said Suraj.

However, not every visit came as a shock to him. He also visited some primary schools, where he was happy to see that the teachers were putting in an extra effort to make classes innovative and fun for the students, helping rural children flourish in their academics.

Such stories of change bring about a hope in the citizens of our country that not all officials we elect are corrupt and some indeed crackdown on corruption for the betterment of society. Suraj’s initiative is a paradigm for those who wish to bring about a change in this country and a warning to those who think they can get away with malpractices.

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