Touts swamp Sakaala centres

The menace of middlemen, a hallmark of most government offices, has not even spared the Sakaala scheme. Most complaints received by call centres are about middlemen flocking the regional transport offices (RTOs) and the food and civil supplies department.

So far, officials have received at least 24 complaints. Alert citizens, well aware of procedures, have brought this to the notice of the help desk.

Geetha, a member of Vijaya Mahila Sangha, said: “When I had to file a Sakaala application for widow pension at the Kengeri taluk office, a man approached me and said he will get my work done quickly. He asked for Rs 200.”

 Shalini Rajneesh Goel, secretary to the Department of Personnel and Administrative Reforms (DPAR), said: “We had instructed all officers to accept applications after verifying IDs so that middlemen do not bring in bulk applications.” The middlemen can be eliminated only if the people become aware that services will be rendered on time if they ask for acknowledgement receipts, Goel added. 

Middlemen have become part of the system and Sakaala is supposed to gradually root them out. However, in our analysis of data, we find that middlemen are very much part of Sakaala also,” said Subramanya Srilal, management consultant for Sakaala.

“Help desks have been set up in all taluk and district offices to reduce the middlemen.” 

Help desks, however, do not seem to be a solution to the problem. Last year, help desk workers at the Belgaum corporation were threatened to take back a case filed against agents.

 “The middlemen told me to take back my complaint, failing which, they told, a disabled colleague and I will not be left in a position to work,” said Ashok Halagal, who was threatened right outside the court after a hearing. Higher officials filed a complain once it was brought to their notice, he added. 

The Sakaala office has received nearly two crore applications this year. According to the DPAR, the revenue department, which offers 49 services, received maximum applications. 

The 203 help desks across 177 taluks and 30 districts employ over 3,000 people.




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