The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Busy babus, rise to elected leaders or face music

Calcutta, Nov. 7: Bureaucrats, watch out the next time you see an MLA or MP roaming your office space. Be sure to get up and receive him and listen to his demands, be polite and attentive, and also see him off. One move made wrong and the slighted leader may haul you to Parliament.

The code of conduct has been laid down afresh for the babus who have been too busy to spare time for the representatives of the democracy.

“It is unfortunate that some senior government officers both in the districts and the state secretariat do not pay proper attention to the people’s representatives, sometimes even misbehaving with them. We had earlier issued a circular, containing guidelines framed by the Central government, to all officers that categorically stated the way elected members of the Assembly and Parliament have to be treated. Even after issuing the circular twice, nothing has happened. So, we have decided to issue the circular afresh,’’ said parliamentary affairs minister Prabodh Sinha.

According to the code of conduct, Sinha said, all officers from the rank of a chief secretary to a block development officer will have to give first preference to any MLA or MP who knocks on the door. “You will always find a number of MLAs loitering in the corridor of Writers’ Buildings waiting to be seen by officers. I have also seen many MLAs waiting outside the office of even a middle-ranking officer. The officer should know they cannot do this,’’ Sinha said, adding that it was not an officer who was at the receiving end of the masses when a problem arose.

The code of conduct states:

n While meeting visitors, an MP or an MLA should be given priority.

n When an MLA or MP comes to see him, an officer should rise in his seat to receive the member and also see him off.

n Letters received from MPs and MLAs should be acknowledged promptly.

n MLAs and MPs of an area to be invariably invited to a public function organised by a government office. Proper and comfortable seating arrangements to be made for him at the function.

n Information or statistics relating to matters of local importance must be furnished to MLAs and MPs.

n A govt servant should not approach MPs or MLAs for sponsoring his individual case.

“As an elected representative, there are many people who come to see me from several villages for different problems. Accordingly, I have to knock from door to door at Writers’ Buildings for a solution. There are some officers who have even refused to meet me saying he is busy or asked me to come later,” said B. Nanda, a Socialist Party MLA.

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