ACB Boards Not Displayed in AMC Offices Despite Commissioner’s Directive: Bribery Concerns Persist

Launch of Civic Centers and Zonal Offices by Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation

In an effort to provide various services to the citizens, civic centers and zonal offices have been established by the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC). Employees are tasked with launching events in these centers and offices, as announced by the Municipal Commissioner two months ago. A circular issued by the AMC board for the Anti-Corruption Bureau and posters stated that any government official soliciting bribes unlawfully can be reported to the ACB by the public. However, upon investigation by the Bhaskar team two months later, no posters were found at any of the corporation’s offices or civic centers.

Revelations in Bhaskar’s Investigation

During the investigation conducted by Divya Bhaskar, it was revealed that the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) board was not visible anywhere near the various civic centers, zonal offices, and main offices of the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC). Citizens visiting the civic centers and zonal offices on a daily basis for municipal corporation-related work such as road repairs, water issues, drainage, Aadhaar card services, and tax-related matters often demand bribes from the corporation for the work to proceed. Despite the ACB’s recommendation to the municipal corporation to display the board for prevention, it was not found anywhere. This indicates that while the Municipal Commissioner issues directives, none of the officials take these directives seriously.

Officials Seek Bribes: Citizens Encouraged to Contact ACB

In January 2024, the Municipal Commissioner issued directives to all deputy municipal commissioners, assistant municipal commissioners, and heads of departments of various zones to ensure that Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) boards are prominently displayed outside all offices of the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC). This decision came after the Director of the Anti-Corruption Bureau recommended that displaying the ACB board outside all offices of the municipal corporation would inform the public and deter corruption.

The ACB board contains information stating that if any government official demands or accepts bribes in an unauthorized manner, citizens can report it to the ACB. Contact information for the Anti-Corruption Bureau office, including the address and toll-free number, has been included on the board. These boards will now be installed outside all offices, and citizens are encouraged to contact the ACB if any corporation employee or official demands a bribe.

Employees Rushed for Lunch

In the past fortnight, incidents have surfaced where security guards, private individuals, and corporation employees were hastily seen accepting lunches at the Sub Zone Offices in Rannip, West Zone, and SG Highway South West Zone, respectively. The sudden gathering for lunch was organized, hinting at potential irregularities in the Tax Department’s operations, prompting concerns.

If the Anti-Corruption Bureau boards have been installed and if anyone demands money for work, citizens can immediately inquire on the toll-free number. However, the officials of the Municipal Corporation have not taken the Commissioner’s directives seriously, which is concerning.

Niyati Rao

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