Trying to please politicians is a competition,none seems to be wanting to lose. Recently,at the convocation at a well known college founded by a politician,President Pratibha Patil was invited as chief guest. While the reporters were taken to the venue about two hours prior to the function,the students the central point of the days function were made to sit in the auditorium hours before the event began.
Interestingly,to beat the heat,air conditioners were switched on hours before the event to keep the auditorium cool,as done when the President,a union minister,state minister,or governor makes an entry. While the function was over in an hour,four hours of airconditioners running at full throttle had cooled down the environment,so much so that many of them began calling the place Alaska.
As most of the students and parents chose to walk out of the auditorium halfway through the event,the President was seen delivering her lecture that was meant for students to a handful of politicians and college staff the only ones who had no choice but to remain in the auditorium till the end.
While Right to Information (RTI) is always seen as an effective tool to garner information from government officials,journalists are always dissuaded from filing RTI at government offices.
Why RTI? We will give you the information, said a government official when she was handed over the application by this reporter. On insisting she took it hesitatingly and said these RTIs have only increased our work. When reminded that it was part of their job,the official gave a wry smile.
Another official who was handed over an appeal thanked the reporter,as the information had not been collated before by the department. Thanks. Now we can get the statistics under this appeal. Our team will never do it unless under pressure, he said.
Drought or no drought?
Ministers who are often known to change their statements hardly keep track of them. A minister who was in the city for the wari,when asked about the drought-like situation in the state,said he was well aware of the situation and accepted the condition. A week earlier at a function,the same minister had denied any drought-like condition in the state and said that everything was well under control. However,when this reporter asked about the grave situation and the shortage of tanker supply when he attended a function in the city,he had to accept the situation and said that the state was indeed witnessing a a drought-like situation.
I have been doing the assessment of the same for the last four months.
High on manners
While the standard practice among all government officials seems to be to dodge calls of all journalists,when promoted,the protocol seems to change suddenly. Earlier when city reporters tried to contact this very senior officer,the official cellphone would invariably be switched off. However,the day his promotion to the highest rank in his area of work was announced,he was found not only answering calls of reporters,but surprisingly was heard exchanging pleasantries.