A Plus-Two student from a hamlet near here has exposed a corrupt revenue official by posting details of the bribes he had allegedly taken, on the Madurai district Collector’s official Facebook page. This resulted in prompt action.
A group of 10 villagers from neighbouring Panayur had sought patta passbooks from local revenue officials for their land. They had submitted individual petitions long time ago. Even after repeated reminders, the staff dodged the villagers, and one day they asked Rs. 10,000 as bribe for getting the job done.
When some petitioners refused to give money and threatened to take up the matter with higher-ups, the revenue staff promised to issue the pattas. However, nothing happened for six months. The irked villagers submitted a petition to Collector Anshul Mishra at a public grievance meeting. He directed the VAO to issue the patta. However, even after that, the revenue staff claimed that the files were missing. Finally, some villagers agreed to pay the bribe, but their pattas continued to be delayed. When the Village Administrative Officer demanded more money, the petitioners were perplexed.
Watching their agony, Arun, a student in a local school, promised the villagers that he would take up the issue with the Collector. Though they did not know how he was going to convey their plight to the Collector, they gave him all the details. Arun narrated their plight to Mr. Mishra through the district administration’s official Facebook account, launched last year.
The Collector sent a team to hold an inquiry and submit a report.
The VAO concerned was summoned and warned. Realising the consequences, the official not only issued their patta passbooks within an hour, but also returned the cash collected from them.
When contacted, Arun said, “After writing about the issue to the Collector, officials called me for an inquiry along with the villagers… I explained the sequence narrated by the villagers, who all made me post on FB about the corruption,” he noted.