‘Citizen’s Help Desk’ at Kulgam DC office: A nightmare for poor, uneducated

‘Citizen’s Help Desk’ at Kulgam DC office: A nightmare for poor, uneducated
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Anantnag: The district administration in this south Kashmir’s Kulgam district have recently come up with the idea and set up a “Citizen’s Help Desk”.The implementation of the idea means that every person who wants to meet the Deputy Commissioner (DC) has to come up with a written application, explaining the purpose of the visit.
A supposedly innovative idea is turning out to be a nightmare for the poor and the uneducated here at Kulgam Deputy Commissioner’s office.
The idea however is turning out to be a money minting machine for the petition writers at the mini-secretariat.
The application is submitted at the Help Desk, where the concerned person vets the application and forwards it to the peon’s guarding the DC’s main office.
The Help Desk is “apparently an innovative idea unless you have money in your pocket or you are educated enough to pen down an application for yourself.”
“The sad part however is that most of the people visiting are elderly uneducated people, from lesser privileged backgrounds, who want to narrate their woes to the concerned officials,” sources at the mini-secretariat told Kashmir Reader.
They said that these poor, uneducated people have to shell out around fifty rupees every time they want to meet the Deputy Commissioner.
“They cannot write for themselves and an application has been made mandatory. That’s where the petition writers step in and make money,” sources said.
Without an application, sources said, one is not even allowed to enter the DC’s office.
Moreover, the practice has made meeting the DC a lengthy, time consuming affair.
“First the vetting of the application by concerned people and then the peons at DC’s doorstep. That essentially means your meeting with the DC now depends on two to three other people which is cumbersome as well as time consuming,” a local told Kashmir Reader.
The locals alleged that meeting the DC is now a four to five hour affair while in some instances it takes more than a day for your turn to arrive.
Deputy Commissioner (DC) Anantnag, TalatParvezRohella, when contacted by Kashmir Reader said that the whole idea is to cut down visitors to his office as he remains busy most of the time.
“I review the applications on a weekly basis and then action is taken accordingly. I don’t remain available in the office most of the times and I think this is a good way of listing grievances,” Rohella said.
Besides, he added, that there were two more counters at the Help Desk wherein people can get information about employment schemes from one and “purchase and submit” government forms from another.
“I am giving them a metro to ride and if some of them insist on riding the old buses, what can I do?” Rohella asked.