IT is said that there are no good or bad days, there are only good or bad actions. However, most of us have seen that on some days, nothing goes right. I experienced one such day in the hot month of June about 30 years ago during my tenure as General Assistant to the Deputy Commissioner, Amritsar.
One evening, our office received a teleprinter message from the state headquarters that the Financial Commissioner Revenue (FCR) would visit the district the next day for reviewing revenue-related work. We hurriedly passed on the instructions as per the protocol since time was too short to make elaborate arrangements. The SSP was requested to station a pilot vehicle at Jandiala Guru on the GT road and the local SDM was tasked with receiving the FCR at the circuit house. In the morning, we came to know that three ministers were paying an unscheduled visit to Amritsar before noon that day. We arranged accommodation for them at the circuit house, with the result that no room was left for the FCR. So, with the approval of the Deputy Commissioner, we booked a suite in a posh hotel near the circuit house. The SDM was deputed to escort the FCR to the hotel after receiving him at the circuit house. Makeshift arrangements were made in another room for the officers’ meeting, to be chaired by the FCR.
The officer arrived at the circuit house at 11 am. The SDM stepped forward enthusiastically to receive him. He was shaken when the FCR said furiously: ‘Why was no pilot vehicle sent? I have been wandering for an hour to find this place.’ Miscommunication regarding the officer’s route had led to this situation. When the SDM informed him about his stay in the hotel, he fretted and fumed at not being lodged at the circuit house. On arrival at the hotel, the suite booked for him was found locked. We had put a senior assistant on duty to guard the suite till the arrival of the VIP. However, he went to the hotel reception to make a phone call, leaving the room unattended. Meanwhile, the room boy locked the suite. Amid the ensuing commotion and embarrassment, the room was unlocked.
Our cup of woes was not full yet. After being served tea, the officer was escorted to the meeting room. He looked at the table and then at the DC. ‘Is this the arrangement you have made? Where is the pen stand, where is the bell?’ he asked. Since these items were not readily available in the hotel, I told an employee to take my official car and bring them from my office. Due to a misunderstanding, the driver returned to the hotel after dropping off the employee at the office. My PA informed me on the phone about this goof-up and immediately another vehicle was sent to bring the employee back with a pen stand and a bell. This whole drill consumed almost half an hour.
In the evening, after the FCR’s departure, the Deputy Commissioner gave all the officers a dressing-down. When my turn came, I politely said, ‘Sir, it was not anybody’s fault. It was a bad day for us, in the truest sense of the word.’
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