ANDHRA PRADESH

Welcome delay

VVIPs often subject the organisers of functions to tremendous embarrassment by turning up late. Chadalavada Nageswara Rao, a noted urologist and secretary-general of Dr. Pinnamaneni Siddhartha Institute of Medical Sciences, is a known stickler for punctuality.

But, a meeting he organised to launch a free camp for operating on cleft lip patients was inordinately delayed when the chief guest and Union Minister of State for Women and Child Welfare Renuka Chowdary, unlike other politicians, chose to give preference to visiting the operation rooms first rather than going ahead with the meeting. When the Minister told the audience that the little children undergoing the operations had deeply moved her, the audience responded graciously and expressed their appreciation of her action by giving a good round of applause. The moral of the story: If you are behind time, it always pays to have a solid reason.

Calling God!

Many among us would have attached not much importance to the statement made by Srija, daughter of actor Chiranjeevi, and her husband Sirish Bharadwaj that they were living with the money god was giving them.

The conclusion that most of us would have arrived at was that the young couple must have said it to conceal the identity of those who might be helping them. But, a beleaguered father of budding chess champion thought otherwise. “My son has no sponsors and he practised the game on his personal computer at home. Still, he won several championships abroad,” the father said in a press release to media offices. The parting shot was this: “I request him (Sirish Bharadwaj) to name the god who is giving money to them, so that I would also request that god to help my son in the form of sponsorship for two to three years to become Grand Master in chess.” Is the god listening?

‘Cooked’ speech

Reporters often tend to believe as true what is stated in press releases, especially those released by government offices or organisations. A reporter, who recently attended an event organised by a government agency dealing with the welfare of delinquent children, was surprised to receive a press release by the end of the day, which liberally quoted the excerpts of a ‘speech’ made by the designated chief guest of the function.

As the reporter sat through the proceedings and knew for sure that the chief guest did not turn up, he got suspicious about the genuineness of the contents in the release. When he called the head of the organisation to check whether the chief guest, by any chance, had turned up later, the official coolly told him: “Include a few lines sir, he will feel happy.” Needless to say, the speech of the chief guest who did not attend was ‘cooked’ by the official. It was no surprise that the media organisations that did not send their own reporters to the event faithfully reported what was stated in the release in the next day’s newspapers.

Public rating

One of the unique services of Guntur Municipal Corporation is a grievances redressal call centre with abbreviated dialling ‘103’ and your request/complaint gets registered.

Then the software produced by the centre for Good Governance sends the complaint to next higher level at regular pre-determined intervals if it remains unresolved.

But, operation of the software being in the hands of GMC officials, in the feedback and column for satisfaction levels, it always gets dream ‘A’ grade and people’s real problems/views never got reflected.

New Municipal Commissioner Siddhartha Jain was shown the efficacy/otherwise of the system, which prompted him to immediately moot a system for public rating of GMC services on the 103/GMC interactive site.

(G.V. Ramana Rao, K. Srimali and K.N. Murali Sankar in Vijayawada and Ramesh Susarla in Guntur)

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