Lokayukta fed up with Govt

Lokayukta fed up with Govt

“If Lokayukta Santosh Hegde has made a New Year’s resolution, it is not approach the government in 2010 with demands for action against corrupt officials caught by the ombudsman.

“We are fed up with the government,” says Justice Hegde, regarding the administration’s lukewarm response to the Lokayukta’s drive against corruption. He sees no point in trying to plead with the government to be more attentive to the Lokayukta’s views.
He admits there has been hardly any progress on the large number of cases corruption by government officials that the Lokayukta detected in 2009 and for that matter the previous years.

“For us, the year 2009 was better than 2008 only statistically,” says the Lokayukta, but what gives him satisfaction is the enthusiastic response by the people to the Lokayukta’s actions. Such is the response that people’s expectations have risen, but the lack of judicial powers for infrastructure required for Lokayukta’s effective functioning continues to hamper its ability to meet such expectations.

Justice Hegde seeks to dispel a notion among public. People, he says, feel the only duty of Lokayukta is prevention of corruption. “Dealing with corruption is just 10 per cent of our work. The remaining 90 per cent work pertains to ensuring good standard in public life, dealing with deficiencies in governance, looking into peoples’ legitimate demands and others. This 90 per cent work goes unnoticed as the media concentrates only on corruption cases. Hence, this wrong notion,” the Lokayukta explains.

In 2009,  the Lokayukta disposed of 12,000 complaints, most relating to the refusal of police to register cases, denial of pensions to the disabled, senior citizens, widows, delay in issue of records, building law violations and more.

“This is an indication of two things: First, the Lokayukta is able to give justice to legitimate demands. Second, the government is not at all responding to peoples’ problems”, opines Hegde.

The year also witnessed two other developments. First, corrupt officials and the government continued to evolve new ways of indulging in corruption whenever the Lokayukta came out with a different idea. “Second, there were counter-attacks on us by a few bureaucrats and government,” recalls Hegde.

The year ahead
“How to solve such woes was our worry, not how to get rid of them by referring people to different departments. The same will be our motto in 2010,” he adds.
“Our progress in 2010 depends on how cooperative the new Upa Lokayukta would be. The contribution of the just retired Upa Lokayukta Patri Basavanagoud is praiseworthy. I bat for locals to the Upa Lokayukta’s post as outsiders will not be able to understand the local language, feelings and problems of the local people.”

He feels enacting an anti-touting law as Kashmir and Goa have done with regard to tourism is the need of the hour since many government officials have their agents in the offices to receive bribes.

“Why should a man be sitting in any office when he has no work?” asks Hegde. The New Year might find some answers to questions such as these.

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