Monday, March 15, 2010

One-line question; 8000-page reply

From The Hindu:
It was quite literally a bundle of a reply that left its recipient flummoxed. Choudhary Rakesh Singh Chaturvedi, Deputy Leader of the Congress Legislature Party in Madhya Pradesh, received a reply running into 8,000 to 10,000 pages to a one-line question he had asked in the State Assembly. The bundles of paper were sent to his home through an autorickshaw.

Mr. Chaturvedi called it a “cruel joke.”

“During the monsoon session on July 7, I had asked a question to which the State Housing and Environment Ministry last week sent me a reply in the form of number of huge bundles,” he said. The reply came early this month.

Mr. Chaturvedi said he had asked Housing and Environment Minister Jayant Malaiyya to state the names of industrial units which were issued No Objection Certificates from January 2006 to December 2008 regarding permissible emission limits.

“I was astonished when eight to 10 bundles containing the answer were delivered at my residence,” he said
Technology provides a way to deal with such intransigent babus: ask them for the documents in soft copy, host the entire thing in a server, and let the crowds pick them apart. Oh, and by the way, ten years' hard labour for any bureaucrat exposed because of this scrutiny (twenty years for the smartypants who came up with the 'let's send them an autorickshaw full of documents' idea).