Hailakandi, July 3: The public grievance redressal mechanism has turned out to be an effective platform for scores of people, especially poor and needy in southern Assam’s Hailakandi district. Having exhausted other options, people make a beeline to the Public Grievances Redressal Day on Tuesdays for help and support from the administration. Many filed complaints, some in desperation to get the much-needed relief.
Of the 371 cases, 73 have been disposed of, 20 rejected and rest are under process. They ranged from land disputes to payment of pension and allotment of houses. Brainchild of present Deputy Commissioner, Adil Khan, the decision to form a public grievances redressal forum of this kind was predictably greeted with scepticism. But now even the most hardened critics are coming around. The people’s response to it has certainly been enthusiastic in the past three months, with an average of almost 30-35 complaints coming every Tuesday.
Almost one-third concerned the Revenue and Disaster Management Department, relating mainly to problems of land acquisition, ownership disputes and storm related compensation. The other departments named frequently in the petitions were health, public health engineering, municipal board, panchayat and rural development, education and social welfare. It took the PGR between seven to 15 days on an average to attend to the grievances.
Allegations of corruption against government officials and employees were also probed into and action initiated in some genuine cases. Even complaints of swindling of public money in welfare oriented schemes and projects were also enquired into and appropriate action leading to filing of FIRs against the corrupt, including contractors were initiated. Deputy Commissioner Khan ably assisted by Nodal Officer cum District Development Commissioner FR Laskar reviews progress into cases of public complaints periodically. Says Laskar: “We have told all the officers and district heads of departments to give top priority to public grievances and to make sure there is no backlog of cases.”
Due to the peculiar requirements of individual cases, PGR officials have to bring unusual skills to their jobs – tact and understanding in solving cases. As for instance, Kumar Shankar Dutta, a retired dealing assistant with the Sub Registrar Office retired in 2017. His troubles began soon after - trying to get his pension commuted, he went to the Sub Registrar Office quite often for almost six months but the dealing assistant shrugged him off. But last April, the frustrated employee finally went to the PGR that finally settled his complaints, giving Dutta the much-needed respite.
On a complaint filed by Gourapada Roy for issuing fake No Objection Certificate pertaining to a land deed document, the PGR forum ordered for filing an FIR against the Sub Registrar and the mandal.