A bureaucrat’s status in and out of service

In his middle “Ways of Sarkar”, S.S. Dhanoa (Aug 11) has aptly summed up the difficulties which he had to face while dealing with the Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA) to get his personal work done. He has also compared the life of a high profile bureaucrat, in and out of service.

It is good that the retired bureaucrat got a feel of the trauma which the common man faces daily while dealing with various government departments. These are ground realities which a bureaucrat perhaps does not know because of his busy preoccupation in the corridors of power. It is regrettable that when the bureaucrat is occupying the hot seat, he is hardly able to do anything worthwhile to revolutionise the system. And post- retirement, when he feels the urge to do something good, it is too late.

An Urdu bard has aptly described the state of a retired bureaucrat in the following couplet: Main tab tak hoon jab tak hai meri yeh kursi,/ Baad iske mera hona bhi no-hona hoga. (My existence is with the chair I occupy/ With it gone, my existence would be in vain).


A.K. RANDHAWA, Patiala


The piece is timely and revealing about the style of functioning in government offices. The writer wanted to transfer his wife’s plot in Mohali in the name of his son for which he had to go to government offices many a time personally and cross many hurdles. Even though the officers concerned showed courtesy, the lower staff put up one query after another. Disgusted, he left everything to his brother, who resides at Mohali, for follow up.

He lamented that it would have been better if he had left everything to a property dealer after giving him the required fee instead of wasting time, since he has become a “private citizen”. This observation is very true since the citizens of Independent India are dependent at the mercy of our babus, who are real bosses and are bread earners for the “top bosses” with a few exceptions. Is the government of the day listening?

M.P.S. RANDHAWA, Dhapai (Kapurthala)


Mr Dhanoa’s narration of his experience shows little that would sadden him. He was shown courtesy and attendance by the officers he approached. Surely, the government staff requires some minimum procedural time for doing an official job. But a former Chief Secretary of Punjab suggesting to approach a property dealer/agent and get the formalities completed for a consideration is certainly not in good taste.

Major BALDEV SINGH, Ambala Cantonment


The middle was thought provoking. Every citizen irrespective of his/her status is entitled to get the public service done according to the procedure laid down. Getting it done for a consideration is, certainly, irritating for an honest and efficient retired civil servant.

In 1948, the Commonwealth conference was to be held in London. Jawaharlal Nehru was to attend it. At that time, there was control on rations due to World War II (1939-45). The King of England relaxed the control of milk, bread and eggs for the Indian delegation attending the conference, but Nehru declined the offer.

After Nehru entered the Conference Hall, M.O. Mathai, the Prime Minister’s Private Secretary, who accompanied the delegation, met the family of a servant of the Claridge Hotel to enquire how they felt about the control. Pat came the reply: We don’t mind control on ration, whatever the King’s child gets, our child gets the same”.

RIKHI DASS THAKUR, Palbhu (Hamirpur)


Mr Dhanoa, who was the Chief Secretary of Punjab, has admitted that he should have got his work done by paying a little fee. Mr Bir Devinder, Kharar MLA and the then Deputy Speaker of Punjab Assembly, according to a report (The Tribune, May 9, 2004) said: “PUDA had become a den of corruption”. Copies of my letter to the Editor (The Tribune, May 12, 2004) were forwarded to all the high-ups of the Punjab Government. But the officers had no time to read such letters, let alone taking action on it. It was not even acknowledged by any one. Blessed are the corrupt!

With reference to the application dated May 7, 2001, PUDA, Mohali immediately granted permission to mortgage the plot. The letter was issued the very next day, May 8, 2001. This instant service showed the operation of a tatkal service.

M.S. SAMRA, Chandigarh

Why oppose helmet rule?

There is a hue and cry regarding the helmet rule for women riders of two-wheelers. Many people, especially women, riding two-wheelers without helmets, are losing their lives in road accidents. So, why oppose the helmet rule?

Some social activists and organisations are bent upon creating a fuss despite being fully aware of the utility of helmets. Safety must be the ultimate goal of one’s life on the road. When the traffic police catch someone without helmet, he/she should immediately be directed to purchase a new one. The documents should be given after showing the proper bills. This would make people conscious of the helmet rule.

Challans alone would not serve any purpose because some people prefer to pay the fine and forget about it while others find suitable connections to hoodwink the law and get exempted.

A.K. KAUL, Chandigarh


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