“Sir the power generator has stopped working”. “Sir a protest rally of about 200 people is coming to your office chanting slogans”. “Sir the commissioner is on the way “. “Sir please we need your support before the December is closed ”. “Sir, the Patwari noted my name but I haven’t received any relief so far “ “ Sir ………..
These are the workaday requests which dictate how a public servant named Assistant Commissioner (AC) spends his day. The agenda is decided for him and not by him. Recently a friend of me asked “what exactly are you supposed to do?” I said I worked with police for the administration of the area, for want of a better description. She Okayed the answer then but when I told her I was going to a remote place with doctors to enquire into reported deaths of infants, she was again confused as to what exactly I was entitled to do. This time I didn’t explain because I was not with the police as I had told her earlier.
You can expect any thing coming your way in what is called administration. It can be anything under the sun and there may be departments purely set up to handle it but people always look up to you for redress. Being at the helm of AC for almost three years, I have found that the job is very thankless besides being overly multifarious. Willy-nilly the AC has to poke his nose almost everywhere. While it may give a super-hero impression to the public it doesn’t help the person himself. The problem of another department becomes your own. Their weakness plays against your reputation exposing you the ire of the public. Recently, the equation has been rendered more complex after the area was given the status of a quasi-province. Little-known leaders of political parties have jumped onto the top positions of power in the region. The same persons who couldn’t visit the offices of ACs and DCs without prior permission now exercise command not only over them but also over their bosses.
This has necessitated the need for a harmonious relationship between the officer concerned and the MNA or worse still any MNA from the ruling party of the area. If the relationship is not good (mainly because the officer hasn’t granted special favors to the cronies of the area MNA) , the officer has to face anything ranging from ridicule in front of the public to conspiracies of all sorts. This either leads to a show-down with the area MNA or the department concerned posts the officer to another area.
While the job of a Public Administrator may have all the pomp and show from outside, it is beset with all sorts of strings attached to it. Sometimes you think you are royal, while at times your worth seems nothing more than rank-and-file!
Assistant Commissioner, Kharmang
(Disclaimer: This is personal opinion of writer, it doesn’t necessarily reflect his or our official view)