Our water meter was stolen a couple of months back. I do not see any business case for the thief in it becuase it was made of plastic and the effort to steal it would have cost him more than the rewards. I did see a business case for the agent who did the liasoning with the goverment offices in the region. So, for the first time in my life I decided not to go through an agent, but to try to replace it myself. It had something to do with my aam aadmi membership as well. Being a member of a group who fights corruption relentlessly, how can I pay bribe and get things done?. So, I went solo at it. The first step in the whole process was to get a police verification certificate, which took me two trips our police station. One to apply for the verification, and the secobd one to collect the verification certificate. Definitely the outlook of the police towards the general public have changed for the better. The next trip was to the kerala water authority office at Kalamasserry.A notice displayed at the kerala water authority office about getting a receipt for every application submitted really empowered me. Initially they were reluctant to issue the receipt, but when I insisted they obliged, and after that their attitude towards me changed.
After three trips to the kerala water authority office at kalamassery, I accomplished my mission without paying a single rupee as bribe, and I realise that my initial aversion was not against government offices, but against the lack of parking slots. To my advantage, this particular office where I had to go three times, and stand beside atleast ten tables and three counters for just getting my stolen watermeter replaced, had amble parking zone, coupled with some gandhian thoughts, christian philosophy of praying for your enemies and some kejriwal examples helped me to keep my cool throughout the process. Yes, the system must be changed. At lest, all the workers in a government office must sit in a straightline, which will make it more public friendly to move from one table to another. Iam not blaming the employees, but the system. Why should an executive engineer and assistant executive engineer sign on an application for the replacement of a water meter, which is already verified by the local police. If technology is not helping the common man to simplify the life of the common man, what is the use of it?.
Three quick tips for everyone, before going to the government offices in kerala..
Leave your ego and self esteem at home.
Experience it with a sense of humour. Blogging about will help to relax.
Be aware of your rights even in a corrupt and inefficient system