Reporter’s Notebookhttps://indianexpress.com/article/cities/pune/reporters-notebook-11/

Reporter’s Notebook

Caught up in a peculiar situation where they have to carry out responsibilities but at the same time struggle to get work done by their subordinates,civic officers have kind of “given up” and prefer to get out of job as soon as possible.

The exit route

Caught up in a peculiar situation where they have to carry out responsibilities but at the same time struggle to get work done by their subordinates,civic officers have kind of “given up” and prefer to get out of job as soon as possible. The toughest job in the civic body is to get work done by the junior staff,as most of them underperform or fail to deliver,says a civic officer. “If action is taken against any staffer,there is political interference seeking withdrawal of the action. The elected representatives call up even if a peon is served memo for not performing duty,” says the officer. “The corporators are after us to get their work done,and come down heavily on us in general body meetings if the work gets delayed. But when the employees are pulled up for not doing their duty,the same corporators ask us to not to take action against them,” he says,adding that this leaves them with only one option — that of applying for voluntary retirement. Even that is turned down most of the time,says another officer.

Toeing the same line

Elected representatives’ recent official tour to South Korea,led by Mayor Vaishali Bankar,came under sharp criticism as the corporators took their family members along,introducing them as representatives of NGOs. Unable to find a proper excuse,NCP leader Subhash Jagtap said there was nothing wrong in taking his son along as he was the activist of a Ganesh mandal,which too is a non-governmental organisation. Bankar who ducked media over the issue had initially admitted that it was a “mistake” due to her ignorance that she took her husband,son and daughter on the tour. But,taking a cue from Jagtap,she later came out with her own justification: “My son has his own Ganesh mandal. Thus,he was also an NGO member.”

Behind the boss

Filing Right to Information (RTI) applications with government offices can have a different effect on the reporter and officer relationship. Recently,a colleague who had filed two RTI applications with a certain office got a frantic call from its public information officer. Apparently,the officer had seen the reporter visiting his boss along with the documents. “We have given all the documents you wanted,why did you have to go and meet our boss?” the reporter was asked. It took some time to console and assure the officer that the visit was for a different reason and had nothing to do with the RTI application.

Dressed up

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Some reporters recently attended a lunch with senior police officers after a press conference about the security arrangements for an international sports event in the city. All police officers were present in civil clothes at the event. A senior officer suddenly approached a group of reporters and asked how did he look in the shirt and jeans. While the unexpected question evoked a standard reply of “fine” from the reporters,the officer later explained the reason why he had asked this. “As I entered the hall,three persons who know me well did not recognise me. I was worried if I had started looking old or was the civil dress so unfit for my personality,” he reasoned.

The plate is full

The on-off relationship between the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorities and chemists is presently at a stalemate. Some time ago,the chemists had held agitations against what they say the non-cooperative attitude of the FDA. “Abide by the Drug and Cosmetics Act and strictly follow the rules” is what FDA Commissioner Mahesh Zagade had told the chemists. Referring to the policy of ensuring that pharmacists are present at all drug stores,Anil Navander,general secretary of the All Indian Chemists and Druggists Federation,had commented that chemists would “abide by the law” irrespective of the fact whether the pharmacists want to be employed on meagre salaries at drug stores,spending 16 hours at a stretch,or not. Pharmacists are,however,present at drug stores only for eight hours. Only time will tell whether the demand for pharmacists at chemist shops has been met with.