February 12, 2021 10:28:49 am
“File ka status pata karna hai toh RTI file kardo,” a clerk in SDO (buildings) office told an applicant trying to get her file moved.
She had applied for a completion certificate of her booth in Sector 20C a decade ago, in February 2011. She has made innumerable visits. Every time the applicant inquires about the status, the staff is unable to locate her file. Tired of red tapism, the applicant is asked to file a diary report every time.
The Indian Express tracked the case of Harvinderjit Kaur. As officials of SDO building showed reluctance in providing the status of her file on February 10 this week, she was asked to file a diary report, something that she has already done twice. This is the third time Harvinderjit has reapplied.
“I have been seeking the completion certificate for my booth located in Sector 20C, Chandigarh, for exactly a decade now from the estate office, Chandigarh, but to no avail,” says the applicant.
Since applying on February 11, 2011, innumerable visits followed over the next five years. Tired of the indifferent behaviour, Harvinderjit then met SDM level officer in May 2016, where she was made to view the record room by a junior functionary. “He told me, ‘Mam, dekho, kitni files hain. Kaise dhoonde hum?’ to which I replied that that ‘You people have to as it’s your job and it’s my right but nothing happened,” she says.
Exhausted by multiple rounds to the office, she filed her application for the second time on May 25, 2016. Her hopes were dashed as the ‘target date’ of June 23, 2016, mentioned in the receipt also passed, and she didn’t hear from officials of the estate office. Another five years later, the running around starts afresh. Repeated visits, hours of waiting to meet officials, but no solution.
On Wednesday, she again trudged to the office of the SDO building. Harvinderjit went to the dealing clerk and asked him to check the status online. He entered her file number on his computer system and said, “Ma’am, aap itne dino ke baad aaye hain. Aap estate office mein phir se single window se diary report likhwayein (Ma’am, you have come after so many days, please go to the estate office and get a diary report written at the single window).”
When the applicant protested that it would take her back to the starting point and she would be only moving in circles, he said, “Main kuch nahi kar sakta. Main to sirf file receive karta hoon aura aage pass on karta hoon. Aap SDO sahib se mil lo (I cannot do anything, I only receive files and pass it on. Please go meet SDO sir).”
The SDO was not present on his seat during public dealing hours (11 am to 12 noon). Neither was the other official who Harvinderjit was referred to.
With a feeling of helplessness and anger, the applicant asked the dealing hand to give the status of her file in writing.
“Ma’am, main nahi bata sakta. Yeh hum baharwalon ko nahin dete (Ma’am I can’t do that, we don’t give this to outsiders),” the clerk says.
Aghast, Kaur replied, “But I am the owner of the property, not ‘baharwala’.”
A woman clerk enters the room and says, “Kya hua? Aapko file ka status pata karna hai? To aap RTI file karo. Wahan se pata lagega (You want to know the file status? Then file an RTI).”
All these clerks refused to give their names when asked. Tearing up, Harvinderjit, left with no other choice, got another application filed at the estate office.
“Now I have three diary reports to show for my efforts. I wonder whether this time I will be lucky and see some development by the new target date of March 11, 2021. Only time will tell if this time the wheels will move in this office,” she says.
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