Fileayana in BDA

Fileayana in BDA

“Government’s work is God’s work,” is boldly inscribed on the majestic building of Vidhana Soudha, the corridors of ‘power’ in Karnataka. “Nudidante Nadeva Maitri Sarkara (A coalition government that delivers on its assurances),” claims the JD(S)-Congress government on its achievements in Karnataka. “Namumkin ab mumkin hai (The impossible is now possible),” trumpets the BJP government at the Centre.

These words have been very carefully chosen and the statements carry a punch. However, they are mere hollow statements that nobody is serious about. Words fly over the heads of the staff in the three-storeyed Bangalore Development Authority head office.

I wondered and chuckled at the tall claims made by the government as my file moved labouriously from one table to another. It took more than half a year for the file to move around less than 100 metres for some 15 signatures. The feat could probably earn an entry into the Guinness Book of World Records for its snail’s pace movement!

The Sakala programme and transparency have just remained on paper. Computerisation has not hastened the process and the staff conveniently blame it for the delay! Their standard reply was “We are busy”, when in reality, they whiled away their time. I saw my file, literally in tatters with pages spilling out, gathering dust or going down the heap whenever I dared them.

I watched in horror other files moving like a bullet train, the moment palms were greased. The staff would cock a snook at the system and accept cash openly as if to tell people “we care two hoots about you”. Surprisingly, middlemen or agents, as they are respectfully called in the corridors of BDA, breeze in and out with files getting the officials’ signatures. They would go from table to table and get signatures in a jiffy — no questions asked. I was bewildered at the sheepish smile on the faces of officials when middlemen admonished them for the delay in clearing their files.

As the file inched from one table to another, sometimes separated by just a few feet, it was déjà vu. I had watched in awe the famous Kannada movie Tabarana Kathe and the epoch-making 1980s Hindi film Saaransh and had come out of the theatre seething in anger against the indifference of bureaucracy and red tapism. The scenario at government offices has not changed even a wee bit in the last three decades and, in fact, has only worsened. Now, my file has completed its Herculean journey. As I left the BDA office, I was helpless too like Tabara and Pradhan of Saaransh.

Meanwhile, I am eagerly waiting for new slogans this election season — slogans that are conceived only to con people by playing on words while being devoid of any heart and soul.