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Sunday Special » Perspective

Posted at: Dec 3, 2017, 12:36 AM; last updated: Dec 3, 2017, 12:36 AM (IST)

All rise! The CM holds darbar

Parveen Arora in Karnal
We love words culled from our medieval past. So, ‘darbar’ sounds good for some CMs and their retinue of babus. So much so that justice is expected ‘then and there’ as local govt officials become mute spectators to a system of populism. Why can only this ‘darbar’ kind of governance deliver?
All rise! The CM holds darbar
THE PEOPLE’s COURT? Haryana CM Manohar Lal Khattar gets written complaints from the people during the recent khula darbar in Karnal. file photo: Sayeed Ahmed
Vedpal (80) is a farmer of Bhenikhurd village in Karnal. He had heard about chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar’s ‘khula darbar’ (an open forum where people air their grievances before the CM). The darbar was to be held on Nov 27 in the CM’s constituency after a gap of two years. So, he reached the Irrigation Rest House, the venue, around 8 am. His grievance: why can’t he get a separate transformer for his fields? He had been demanding it for over seven years. First, he got himself registered after standing in a long queue and was given number 71. He had to wait his turn for about four-and-a-half hours. 

“To save frequent outages and theft, the Uttar Haryana Bijli Vitran Nigam (UHBVN) in 2010 had started installing yellow-painted transformers in each field. Except in my farmland, these transformers came up at all other places,” said Vedpal. He was issued bills, which he paid for four months. “But power was disconnected,” said Vedpal. The CM directed the authorities to install the transformer. “It was the impact of ‘khula darbar’ that the authorities solved my problem on Nov 29. I am satisfied,” said the farmer.

It was third such ‘khula darbar’ of the CM in Karnal since the BJP came to power in the state. A large platform was erected for the CM and others. On the one side stood around 100 officials of various departments, and on the other, political representatives, market committee chairmen, vice-chairmen and other were present. A media gallery was arranged. 

After inaugurating state’s first ‘Police Mitra Kaksh’ at Civil Lines police station in the city, Khattar’s cavalcade reached the rest house around 11am. He started his ‘darbar’ around 11.45 am and was finished with it at 1.45 pm. 

The two-hour ‘darbar’ saw a plethora of complaints as 450 persons got themselves registered at the venue to meet the CM personally. Around 125 complaints were given a hearing. The rest of the complainants were instructed to hand their complaints to the CM. Those who didn’t get a chance to be heard were clearly disappointed. 

Deepak Kumar, a city resident, had reached the venue at 7.30am. He wanted state’s Volvo buses to halt at the Oasis Tourist Complex. The CM immediately ordered the buses to stop at the complex. 

“I came here to raise four issues: electricity theft, a waiver on compound charges on line losses, a ‘mercy’ chance to the defaulters of the state co-operative agriculture and rural development banks to clear the loan and malpractices and corruption in the Karnal zone grain markets. After waiting for two hours, I was told to hand my complaint to the CM as he had to leave,” said a dejected Ajit Singh Kahlon, national spokesperson for the Bhartiya Kisan Union (A). “All complainants should have been heard,” he said.

Of the total complaints, a major chunk was against the police department which was 72, followed by 65 against the panchayat and development department, 42 against Karnal Municipal Corporation and 37 against UHBVN. Barring 20-30 complaints, the rest concerned the local administration. 

The huge number of complaints came even after the OSD to CM Camp Office, Amrinder Singh, makes himself available for the people twice a week. The local administration, too, fixes times to listen to the grievances. Many complaints also come to the monthly district grievances redressal committee meeting.

Al this clearly shows the gaps in the administration.

Opposition leaders trash the khula darbar. Former Gharaunda MLA and senior INLD leader Narinder Sangwan says that the number of the complaints shows the administration as well as the CM’s camp office have failed to tackle the problems of the people. “(Former CM) OP Chautala used to hold ‘sarkar apake dwar’ programme in each constituency and listened to panchayat members. The khula darbar is a mockery of the system.”

Deputy commissioner Aditya Dahiya says the administration has left no stone unturned to inform the public about the darbar. “The impact can be seen by the presence of so many people.” 

CM window at sub-division level

  • Chief Minister Khattar launched the CM Window at the sub-division level on Good Governance Day (December 25) in 2016 following the success of the project at the district level. The district-level project was launched in 2014. 
  • The CM Window in Karnal has received 6,328 complaints. Of these, 5,977 have been resolved, 107 are overdue and 244 are in process. The maximum complaints (1,158) are against district development and panchayat office.

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