Monday, November 15, 2004

God save my country (as by the author of the post) ...

A recent post from a forum that I'm member of. Words can hardly describe the emotions that I go thru' while reading this. Names have been elided for obvious reasons.

BTW, I came across this from here.

"Dear X

You may recollect a posting on a CDROM - 222 Research Papers on ICT & E-Governance - posted on this forum, which was compiled by a French national Y, for the purpose of helping her financially to complete her thesis and research in E-Governance and ICT.

I thank you for having posted the information. I was overwhelmed by the response. I have had atleast a 100 emails from the India-egov and Vision-India forums. Though more than 200 CDs were despatched overall, only about 20 CDs were despatched to members in these 2 forums. I wish to bring to the open the mental state of certain members in these 2 groups, and I openly wonder if these 2 groups will really be able to serve any purpose.

Several respectable officers and persons had requested us for a complimentary copy, but we had no other way than to refuse it, as it defeats the very purpose of compilation and distribution. Some were very humble, and no point is being made of them here. However, I wish to bring to light certain incidents that have troubled us over the past 2 months :

* One IAS officer claims that he works in the PMO, and is the Government himself. He claims that he is automatically entitled to any material on ICT & E-Governance.

* One officer walked into my office one morning, and requested a copy. When payment was requested, he told me that he is an Income-Tax officer, and he should not be asked for payment. When I told him that I cannot give him a CD without payment as it was not my property, he openly challenged me to try and protect myself from the wrath of Income Tax officials, and walked out in a huff.

* One officer in the TN Govt. walked in, well escorted by 2 other chamchas. He came in at 12 noon, in his official jeep. He demanded a copy of the CD saying that his daughter wanted one for her research. When payment was requested, he told me that neither will he be able to pay from his pocket nor claim re-imbursement from his department. When I denied him the CDROM, he openly threatened me that he will ensure disconnection of utility services to my residence and office. He asked his chamchas to note down my details and vanished. His chamchas advised me to heed to their officer's requests. On persistent denial, one of them raised their index finger and began abusing me, while the other one took the telephone on my table and banged it against the wall. And they left shouting all the way.

* One seemingly respectable IPS officer sent me an email asking me my address. He was in my office the very next day, in his VIP vehicle. He wanted a copy of the CDROM. When payment was requested, he asked me for my licence to produce this CD compilation. I showed him a copy of the agreement with the author. Still not satisfied, he told me that he is a law enforcer, and he should not be asked for money. When I refused to oblige, he stared at me for a full 2 minutes, and warned me saying that my troubles have started. He was seen for upto 10 minutes later outside my office, talking to someone on his mobile phone. An hour later, when I was leaving to pick up my daughter from school, I noticed a traffic police jeep parked outside my office. I had barely started my scooter, when 3 policemen jumped out of the jeep and asked me to show my licence. When my licence and other documents were shown, they asked me why I was overspeeding. I told them I had not moved an inch as yet, but a sergeant among them promptly started filling up a form. I was charged Rs. 500/- for overspeeding, rash driving, and driving in the opposite side of the 20 feet road. I had to pay up, as picking up my daughter was a higher priority.

* One IAS officer supposedly working for an E-Governance project in Tamilnadu sent me an email requesting a CD. When he received it, he refused to take it, and instead called me over telephone. He asked me what is the justification that he should pay for it. He claimed that he is an E-Governance Professional in one of the largest states of India, and he does not have to pay for anything on the subject. He went a step further saying that Sona Claure should have got his permission and approval to bring out such a product. He added that he is able to nullify even his Durga Pooja/Saraswathi Pooja expenses at his residence by billing it on others and the State Government, and if this is the case, why should he pay for the CDROM. I told him that he need not pay, and the CD came back.

* One officer in the Educational department challenged me on telephone, to try and ensure the continued education of my daughter in the current school, when confronted with a VP Letter packet demanding payment for the CDROM. I had no other way but to promptly inform the Provincial of the particular educational group, and apprise him of what had happened. The Provincial agreed that he knew the specific officer, who was known to be extremely corrupt, especially during the beginning of the admission season.

* One Excise officer managed to trace and close my Savings Bank account in a prominent private bank in Chennai. He openly threatened me of raids. Enquiries later revealed that he was indeed an influential and corrupt officer, and not finding anything in my account for a sensational seizure, managed to convince the local bank authorities to recommend the 'weeding out' of my account to their corporate office, which was promptly done.

* One IAS officer called me to tell me that he was the Government himself, and I was a lesser mortal than him. He claimed that he is the law of the land, and I being a citizen of India and a resident of TN, should heed to him. Otherwise, I will have to face the consequences. When I reminded him that in fact it is the other way round, saying that he was in fact in public service, on the tax-payer's money, he began to abuse me in unparliamentary language, which prompted me to put down the phone.

* Then comes an IAS officer in Urban development, who urged me repeatedly over phone, to take a copy without the knowledge of Sona Claure and send it to him. Alternatively, he asked me to send it in bits and pieces through email. When I told him that this amounts to Piracy, he assured me that he wud not tell anyone. When I told him that I was in the software creation and development business myself, and I could not do this, he blasted me asking me if all the softwares I use were licensed. And then he hung up.

* Last but not the least, one exceptionally brilliant IAS officer, managed to walk into my premises in my absence, threatened my 6 employees of dire consequences, and made them vanish from duty overnight. Over the next 4 days, I received telephone calls from all of them giving feeble excuses for having stopped coming for work. When I managed to physically catch hold of one of them, he vomited the entire incident, and told me that he and the other 5 were very scared of working for me anymore. And I am yet to recover from this.

These are just a few of the happenings. It has been hell here for the past 2 months or more. All the people mentioned here are members in either or both of the groups that you moderate. No names being called out here, as it is not my purpose to humiliate anyone. I wonder if with this group of people, you/we wud manage to go anywhere more than talking, talking and talking. Lost hope. God save my country.

Any volunteers to spearhead the forced and legal removal of the corrupt?

Best Wishes to all

Z"

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