Corruption greets Lokayukta at Shirahatti hospital

Deputy Commissioner directed to send report within a month

Special Correspondent

GADAG: The government hospital at Shirahatti taluk in Gadag district was witness to a strange incident some time ago. It is said that two lorries came to the hospital around midnight. Hospital articles, including cots, refrigerators and laboratory equipment, were loaded into them and they left. But some alert citizens, who got suspicious, stopped the lorries and brought them back to the hospital compound. They shifted the articles in the lorries to a room and locked it.

This was brought to the notice of Lokayukta N. Venkatachala when he visited the hospital as part of his tour of Gadag district on Thursday. People who had gathered at the hospital alleged that the District Health Officer was trying to dispose of used articles without calling tenders. But the official denied any role in the incident and held the Resident Government Doctor responsible for it. The Resident Government Doctor chose not to say anything. The Lokayukta asked the Deputy Commissioner to go into the matter and submit a report to him within a month.

More instances

This was not the only surprise that awaited the Lokayukta. He unearthed many instances of corruption and called for inquiry by the Deputy Commissioner in each of the cases.

At the town municipality, the Lokayukta found that there were no records to support the purchases made. The employees there passed the buck on each other. Records pertaining to the construction of stalls were either vague or unclear. Also, there were no answers when the Lokayukta asked why rent had not been collected from the stall owners and why there was no follow-up action on the notices for recovery of dues issued by the municipality.

At the taluk panchayat office, a random check of the registers on allotment of houses showed that while the houses had been allotted in someone's name, it had been given to somebody else. Also, photographs had not been affixed to registers as mandated by the Government. It was noticed that the municipal authorities had hurriedly prepared a separate register for photographs.

At the tahsildar's office, it was discovered that applications for widow and old age pensions had been rejected on trivial grounds. The tahsildar was asked to review all the decisions on humanitarian grounds. There was also irregularities in the distribution of assistance under the Natural Calamity Fund.

The Lokayukta, who visited the Sub Registrar's office, found out that a second-division clerk was holding the charge of Sub-Registrar. People complained to Mr. Venkatachala about the corruption at the Sub-Registrar's office.

At the hostel for Scheduled Caste students, which the Lokayukta visited, it was found that it was ill kept without any maintenance.

Some boys said the breakfast was given at 8 a.m. and lunch at 10.30 a.m. and the next meal was served only in the night.

This was done to ensure that they did not eat too much, they alleged.

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