KOCHI: “Blast in Vellarada village office in Thiruvananthapuram…” was big news a few days back. A crude bomb of sort was placed at the feet of an official by a man in helmet who said: ‘I will show you’ and set off the explosive, injuring many and sparking off a fire in the village office. The accused Samkutty was duly arrested and he confessed to the crime/ immediately. “I was fed up running to and from the office. They were refusing to get the mutation of my land done.
I wanted to kill them all and myself…” he reportedly told the police. Like it or not, there are thousands across the state who agree with Samkutty, who want to do the same.
Another round of elections, another round of big promises, governments come, governments go, but basic reality of life remains the same for the common man - they are driven to exasperation.
What drove Samkutty to such an extreme step? What makes thousands say in private - what else should he have done? Express did a reality check at some village offices across the state. Here is what we found.
The Samkutty Effect
by Chandrakanth Viswanath
➤You may call it either the Samkutty effect or the FB effect. But Rejeesh Rehman heaved a sigh of relief as he received the certificate which was eluding him even after 10 visits to the Kanayannur Taluk office, Ernakulam.
➤The visits of this media professional to get a legal heir certificate, following the demise of his father C M Abdurehman, started on March 14.
➤He needed the certificate to transfer the pension into the name of his mother. However, the authorities made him wait, citing several reasons.
➤Fed up with the ordeal, Rejeesh posted his plight on his Facebook page and in less than five hours, he got a call from the Deputy Tehsildar to receive the document for Gazette notification as that the application was signed on April 6.
The official apathy
➤Certificates from village and taluk offices can be issued within a week of applying. But that’s hardly the case.
➤In 2009, the Revenue offices in Ernakulam district have been brought under intensive surveillance of the Vigilance Department following allegations of rampant corruption.
Sisters Land in Trouble by C P SajitKANNUR
➤For the past three years, Karthyayani and Shanthakumari, sisters who jointly own a land at Thimiri village under Hosdurg Taluk in Kasargod, have been running from pillar to post to get their land surveyed and to fix the boundary. However, their pleas have so far fallen on deaf ears.
➤They jointly own a single piece of land of 1.04 acres .
➤They applied for a resurvey to determine the boundary, but was turned down saying they could not find the land plan and were redirected to the Taluk Survey office.
Struggles of 81-year-old by Melena Thomas Kozhikode
➤V Velu, an 81-year-old man, has been visiting Panthalayani Village Office in Koyilandy Taluk for the last 30 years to procure various documents of his property which has been stuck in a legal wrangle
➤However, the village office authorities have turned down Velu’s request every time
➤Velu alleges that the survey number of his land has been manipulated. To make it worse, he no longer possesses the property in official records.
➤Panthalayani Village Officer P C Gireesh Kumar, said: “I am studying the case. He’s a regular visitor. According to my understanding, the official records do not support his claim.”
Kochi, is the commercial capital of the State, has not been able to implement the e-governance project completely, even as the Central Government urge local bodies to shift to m-governance as part of the Digital India initiative.
The e-governance project was mooted in 2007 under the JNNURM, and the initial procedures for its implementation was initiated by the then Corporation council led by the LDF.
UDF’s Tony Chammany, during his tenure as the Mayor between 2010 and 2015, had promised that e-governance would soon become a reality. The present Mayor, Soumini Jain, has also announced that the project would be implemented without delay.
The e-governance system will bring in more transparency to issuance of essential certificates by the civic body by shifting the whole process to the digital platform.
However, most of the officials want things to be done manually as it would help them ‘bargain’ with the general public. It seems that they do not want e-governance to be implemented at all.
* Citizen-centric - it is the core feature of all e-governance activities
* Mooted with a vision to make all government services accessible to the common man through a common platform
*It will ensure efficiency, transparency and reliability of such services at affordable costs.
*Moreover, the public will be able to file their grievances and complaints online.
*Public can also track the progress/action taken, if any, with regard to the complaints.