Sunday, June 24, 2018

That particular fault called corruption

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Not so long ago, an ACC Commissioner made a comment which resonates with all of us. He called for a social movement to prevent graft in society. That is an idea we share with him. But then comes the reality. Where does one begin to come down on graft? We begin with the little instances where citizens are made to suffer for no fault of theirs.

For no rhyme or reason, traffic constables and sergeants often compel drivers of CNG-driven scooters, buses, trucks and private cars to stop beside the road and show them their papers. Even when the papers are in order, some of these traffic people force these hapless drivers to cough up some money before they allow them to move on. There are even instances of policemen asking people to give them their purses to check. If that is not outlandish behaviour, what is?

Graft is now a cancer which has spread all across the nation's body politic. Take the case of the many schools and coaching centres which violate the law and convention by demanding that students who are already studying there must pay fresh admission fees at the beginning of an academic year.

That is the height of immorality, for the rule is that once a student is given admission in a school, he does not have to pay anything else except his monthly fees. Unfortunately, this trend of charging admission fees from students who are already in a school has never been checked by the authorities, let alone filing charges for action that is clearly an offence.

This tendency to fleece guardians and students in such an obnoxious manner needs to be firmly handled by the authorities. It is indiscipline and indiscipline, unless checked, breeds chaos in society.

There is corruption in other areas as well. For years there have been reports of government officials and employees siphoning off money earmarked for significant projects aimed at promoting public welfare. How many of these officials have been identified and hauled before the law?

There is then the perennial question of politicians making themselves inordinately rich through behaviour not above the board. Such politicians have by their action tarnished the image of honest politicians and indeed of the calling of politics itself.

Corruption has crept into areas where even the poor, the not-so-well-off in the middle class bracket, are compelled to hand over money, despite their qualifications and ability, in return for jobs they should get in the normal scheme of things.

We agree with the ACC Commissioner, as we have agreed for years with those who have called for action against graft. But to what extent we have been able to check and put an end to graft is a huge question to which we do not have any answer. That has been the sad reality in our lives.

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