Amritsar (D)

  • Most pay bribes to civic officials in Punjab: study

    A state government survey says over 76 pc people had to grease the palms of municipal bodies to get basic amenities CHANDIGARH, February 21: It's not a finding the Punjab Government would like to flaunt. A survey sponsored by it has found out that 76.5 per cent of people pay bribes to officials in the various municipal bodies of the state to get their work done. The finding was an outcome of a study conducted by the Institute for Development and Communication (IDC) for the Department of Planning, Punjab Government. The study discovered that 76.5 per cent of the respondents had paid bribe on one occasion and most of them (82.3 per cent) had paid it to one person only. Interestingly, 94.1 per cent of the repondents admitted that the persons concerned had asked for money for redressal of their problems regarding basic amenities such as water, sewerage, streetlights and roads. Besides paying bribes, 37.1 per cent of the people also felt the need to approach an influential person to get their complaints redressed. Interestingly, almost half of the respondents were not in favour of paying bribes for any work at the MC level but were forced to do so. The only exception were people at Jalandhar and Nakodar where 80 per cent and 100 per cent of the respondents, respectively, did not mind greasing palms to get their work done at the municipal corporation. However, in many cases, bribe did not prove to be the ideal solution. Nearly 44.1 per cent of the respondents complained about harassment even after paying the bribe. Only 23.5 per cent felt that their work was done immediately after they paid the bribe, said the study. A large number (37.4 per cent) of respondents felt that middle-level officials were most corrupt, and only 8.1 per cent pointed a finger at the councillors. A majority of the complaints (45.2 per cent) were related to poor water supply followed by faulty streetlights, potholed roads (11.3 per cent) and choked sewerage (8.1 per cent). In Hoshiarpur, poor or polluted water supply accounted for half the complaints, while building construction made up for one-fourth of the grouses. In Moga and Amritsar, blockage of sewerage and poor water supply were the major grouses. In a damning indictment of the municipal bodies, the survey showed that 74.9 per cent of the people were dissatisfied with their grievance redressal system. The Jalandhar municipal body fared most poorly with only 2 per cent of the respondents saying that the civic body was prompt in dealing with grievances. The reasons for corruption, according to the study, ranged from poor work culture, faulty management, lack of proper planning, absence of transparency, to ad hoc allocation of resources. The people surveyed suggested transparency and involvement of the locals in grassroots initiatives would improve the delivery system. Principal Secretary, Local Bodies, DS Bains, however, blamed the old urban infrastructure for the corrupt system. "Urban infrastructure is nearing a collapse in the state for want of investment in the last decade and half. Some unscrupulous elements take advantage of people who want better services. The answer lies in massive investment to upgrade the urban services which we are doing this year.' Show 'em the money Of the 76.5 pc people who bribed Punjab civic body officials to get their work done:

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