My Story: How One Phone Call Made All The Difference
One phone call a day can keep all problems away. And when this becomes a reality, it seems like a distant dream come true!
This is about a series of phone calls per day that made all the difference – a phone call to record a complaint on CGNetSwara, a phone call to follow up with the District Collector and a phone call for further follow ups. That’s all it took to solve the issue of corruption in the MNREGA project in a small village in Balrampur district, Raighar, Chhattisgarh.
Corruption in MNREGA:
Chandeshwar Kushawa, discovers that that almost 12 lakhs worth of MNREGA income in his village Balrampur is being siphoned off to undeserving candidates. When he complains to the administrative officials, he is harassed. Consequently, Chandeshwar considers leaving the village altogether.
Chandeshwar loses all hope for redressal of his grievances. In the nick of time, he learns about CGNet and records his complaint in less than 2 minutes.
He waits patiently for an outcome, but the complaint falls on deaf ears – no reply. The harassment continues and he is pressurized to pack up and leave.
However, before quitting he tries his luck again. After all, no harm in trying just one more time before throwing in the towel – he records the message again on CGNet.
This time, someone (myself) picks up the case, and follows it up with the District Collector who promises that if a written complaint can be submitted then concrete action is possible. I relay the message back to Chandeshwar. Within a few days, a written complaint is submitted to the Collector in the presence of 40 other people, majority of them being women.
There are some more follow ups via WhatsApp gently urging the honourable Collector to kindly intervene at the earliest, followed by a few more phone calls. CEO, an IAS officer visited the village and threatened him. He got scared but we reported again after few days. Now when the message reached Delhi and Raipur same officer came back and apologised and the same work is again getting done by people. Thanks to the Collector’s initiative an inquiry team is established to look into the matter. Within a week’s time, the culprits responsible for the scam are reprimanded, made to apologize for the wrong doing and committed to implement the MNREGA work as per the guidelines.
So how can we help?
That someone who picked up the issue and followed it up was me. However, it could be you, too, and a few minutes of your phone calls can conveniently solve some critical issues in real time.
Those villagers certainly believe in CGNet, hopefully we too can believe in it – as aware and active citizens and electorates, we can spread the word and become problem solvers.
Democratizing the media is what CGNet does and when problem solving can also be democratized, it feels that we are not merely parroting about democracy but actually living it in the 21st century.