Tinsukia: The Assam state directorate of vigilance and anti-corruption took to social media appealing the citizens not to pay Rs 100 to 1,000 for ‘Chai-Pani khoroch [off the book expenditure]’ for police verification of passports.
The directorate tweeted on Wednesday: “Don’t give Rs. 100 to 1000/- for “Chai-Pani khoroch” for police verification of passports. Verification is supposed to be time bound. Report such demands to District SP & this Directorate WE WILL ACT. Bribe giver is equally responsible for malaise. @CMOfficeAssam @assampolice”.
A Twitter user was quick enough to reply to the tweet saying: “I would request @mygovassam @CMOfficeAssam to pass an order to hang the notice board in all circle offices which says that not to pay any “Chaa-Pani” along with the documents which are time bound bcoz poor villagers are the wrost affected. Pls try it will help the poor.”
The tweet comes amid reports of excessive delay, from several weeks to few months in police verification for passports in several cases, and is seen as a boost for citizens who are harassed in the name of police verification.
“I had to pay around Rs 500 for verification after the duty officer asked for some chai-pani to process my file,” a resident of Tinsukia, who wished not to be named, told EastMojo.
“The rule says that the police officer tasked should go to the residence of the applicant to carry out police verification. But, here the situation is different. The applicant is called at police station with sets of documents, and at times need to visit the local police station couple of times, as the officer of his case has either left for field visit or hasn’t reached the station. Chai-Pani khoroch is a common phenomenon for such works,” another citizen not wanting to be named echoed, when EastMojo asked him about his experience and informed him about the tweet by the directorate.
Welcoming the tweet, he said, the story of getting police verification completed doesn’t end here. “The applicant has to again go to the office of superintendent of police few days later. Here he needs to deposit his mobile phone at security check gate before entering the office premises, and many times, have to wait quite a bit, before a senior police officer process his file. A lot of time gets wasted in the process, which at times turn out to be a big harassment, particularly, when one has to take his elderly family member from police station of superintendent of police office for police verification for passport.”
The only good part is one doesn’t have to pay a single rupee at office of superintendent of police and officers are very polite. He added, “It consumes almost half day for an ordinary citizens to reach SP office, complete formality to enter the office, wait for his time, get his work done and reach back to his work place. At times, if the concerned officer isn’t available, the applicant has to come back some other day. The system needs to change.”