Hyderabad: A ‘We Are Honest Government Workers’ spirit appears to be catching up among the Revenue Department staff in Telangana. The office of the Venkatapuram mandal Tahsildar in Mulugu district now joined its counterpart in Munugode in Nalgonda district, declaring itself a ‘corruption-free’ office.
The Revenue Department was under fire for some time now with widespread allegations of corruption among VROs, VRAs and staff in Tahsildar offices. And, with the State government also making it clear that it is in the process of cleaning up the department’s functioning, department staff was at pains over the past couple of weeks to demonstrate that not everyone is dishonest and corrupt.
Following the Munugode model, the Venkatapuram Tahsildar Office too tacked a large poster on its building declaring itself corruption-free along with phone numbers of the Tahsildar, Deputy Tahsildar, District Collector and Revenue Divisional Officer. “People can call any us to lodge complaints if anyone from our staff demands bribes for processing any application,” Venkatapuram Tahsildar G Deva Singh said on Wednesday.
“We decided that facing such allegations is not good for any of us. Our mandal is already under a cloud after a small group of farmers took to begging and collected money ‘to pay bribes’ to our staff in return for pattas on Podu land they are cultivating. Though nobody asked for a single penny, our standing in the community suffered as a consequence,” Singh told Telangana Today.
The incident in Venkatapuram mandal took place in February when some farmers resorted to begging claiming that the local VROs were demanding Rs 5,000 per patta from about 800 farmers who were practising podu in 767 acres. “We impressed upon on all our staff not to get lured by bribes, even if someone presses them to accept a bribe,” he said.
And, to prove that they meant business, the entire staff at Venkatapuram Mandal Revenue Office, about 20 of them, on Wednesday pulled out every file related to pending cases and began poring over the reasons for pendency and clearing the cases. “We hope we can finish this work soon,” Singh said.