Puducherry: A day after the Madras High Court chopped down her control over the administration of Puducherry and even accused her of running a "parallel and diametrically opposite government", Lt Governor Kiran Bedi has now taken her case before the People's Court.
Releasing a detailed enumeration of all that she has done in the last three years, Bedi said she ensured transparency in the administration, fiscal prudence and public access to her at the Raj Nivas, besides taking serious efforts towards making Puducherry clean.
"Here is an enumeration of the following actions or initiatives (or 'interference' in day to day administration) by the Lieutenant Governor's Office in the last three years (nearing completion on May 29)", said Bedi while starting her defence before the public and in the process, taking a dig at the High Court for slamming her for 'interference' in the work of the elected government of Chief Minister V Narayanaswami.
The Lt Governor said she got the municipal and PWD staff and volunteers to clean up Puducherry's beaches, streets, drains and canals, while rewarding good work by them. The 'name-and-shame' strategy led to large recovery of pending loans and arrears while seeking judicial intervention secured permanent relief for poor aspirants for medical seats from the private medical colleges extorting exorbitant fees. "Increasing vigilance on the land grab mafia, providing relief to vulnerable citizens, senior and French nationals with the help of Collector", were other credits in her score card.
"Using incognito road safety and night round to check on women safety" was a prominent service she had rendered for the people, besides "promoting the need for sustained quality communication internally within one's own department and externally with people for better administration". She had also arranged for "Installing collaborative measures by greater use of technology by HODs (inter and intra) with the help of National Informatics Centre", Bedi said.
Obviously referring to the charge that she had introduced the use of social media for internal communication among her officers, she said putting in place control and close monitoring through a Control Room system by a Chief Grievances Officer of SP rank ensured that the bureaucracy was "accessible 24x7 for anyone". Also, she ensured jobs were given on merit-cum-seniority and expedited disposal of pending service matters such as clearing backlog of promotions. "Putting a halt to back door entries ably assisted by the Secretariat", she said.
She said she took "all possible measures of financial prudence to save Puducherry from falling in a debt trap". The administration observed financial discipline in managing its over Rs 7,500 crore Budget for its 14 lakh population "by strictly following General Financial Rules as approved by President Of India".
In all this, she was "ably assisted by the Chief Secretary and the Finance Secretary", Bedi said in an obvious retort for the court upholding the Congress petitioner's complaint that she was dealing with the bureaucracy directly ignoring the Chief Minister and his council of ministers. In this regard, she also recalled that she got the Chief Secretary replaced "by an officer of highest integrity with sound professional skills" and the Government of India helped.
Stressing on the transparency she had followed in her administration throughout, Bedi said her Officer on Special Duty (OSD) provided the people the right to information (RTI) on files cleared by her office every week. "Promoting Puducherry as a very hospitable and clean destination for over 14 lakh tourists visiting every year and inspiring officers to be self-driven and the public to become more responsible towards their duties", were among the achievements she flagged in her score card.
"These practices and more, if sustained, will keep Puducherry a favoured destination for all-round prosperity", said Bedi, hinting that the High Court order challenged that possibility. "It does not matter who does. And how much. Key is that we do and the needs are met. Ideally all work together to give people holistic good administration. People have to be served. Their needs cannot wait", she said.