Officers' talk time leaves ZP speechless

Bill that can kill

During his stint as the CEO, Anthony Mendonza facilitated distribution of BSNL mobile connections as a Closed User Group (CUG) to officers of six government departments to improve governance and service delivery to the public.

Of the SIM cards distributed, a large share was given to officials from the Health department to ensure 24-hour medical service and the education department for better administration.

But the officials who received the connections have misused it to the extent that the Zilla Panchayat is now staring at an unpaid mobile bill of more than Rs 1.3 crore, 1,30,81,597 to be exact. Since some mobile companies offer unlimited SMS packages, the idea was to utilise this facility for quick dissemination and collection of information.

The SIM cards were distributed with the rider that the maximum amount that the ZP would foot would be Rs 350 and the excess bill amount was to be paid by the officer. A total of 2,741 officers and employees were provided with the SIM cards. On conditions of anonymity, a senior officer of the Zilla Panchayat said that most officers overshot their bill on purpose and refrained from paying the bill to ensure that the connection was disconnected.

“They are doing so to get senior officers off their backs,” the officer said. General Manager of BSNL Raichur Telecom zone K Madhusudan Rao issued a notice to the ZP stating that incoming calls would also be barred if it failed to clear its dues before March 14.

Kariyappa, chief accounts officer of the BSNL zone has confirmed that the Zilla Panchayat has still not cleared the dues.

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