A leading bureaucrat is hogging news headlines in Telangana for an odd reasion. Collector Musharaf Ali Farooqi has asked village revenue officers and village revenue assistants in District Nirmal to work as ball pickers and personal attendants when he goes to practice lawn tennis. They don the roles of ball pickers and personal attendants, handing him towels and water when he feels exhausted. They would have to be at his call till 9 PM when he decides to call it a day and returns home.
To make the work of the village revenue officers and village revenue assistants official, lest there should be criticism, Urban Tahsildar K Shiva Prasada has issued official proceedings (PROC NO: D/777/020), asking them to be around on the premises of the office by 5.30 PM every day.
On 11 April, Nirmal Urban MRO issued an order allocating 21 village revenue assistants, that is three a day, to assist the collector at the lawn tennis court.
The tehsildar even drew a schedule with details of the officer and the assistants who should be on the collector’s ‘duty’ on what day of the week. To lessen the burden on the government employees, the tehsildar has shown some compassion. Each team gets the duty only once in a week but the Collector gets their services throughout the week.
The team that is on duty on one day must report the same day next week as another team would take over the following day. As the assistants come from villages, they find it difficult to return home late in the night as their duty does not end till the collector decides he has had enough practice for the day. Even on the days when the collector does not have a partner to practice, the officer-led assistants’ team does not get any relief as the collector would do wall practice.
For a few days, the revenue officers and assistants had a surprise of their lifetime. The collector did not turn up for practice for about 10 days as he was out of the station for his wedding.
Time just flew but the revenue officers and assistants are again back on tennis duty for the last three days as the Collector has returned. An officer, who is acting like the collector’s factotum, after the abolition of the VRO system in 2020, said that since the government had not yet given them new roles, they are being forced to do menial jobs like working as personal attendants of the officials.
When contacted, Nirmal Urban Tahsildar K Shiva Prasad maintained that there was nothing wrong in issuing proceedings that the VROs and VRAs have to attend to the Collector since he would be on the premises of the Nirmal Urban Tahasilar’s office. He said there was nothing new in the proceedings which have been there for quite some time anyway. He said he only made some changes recently to the schedule of the work of the VROs and VRAs since it is Ramzan month, he said.
The 32-year-old Musharaf Farooqi is a 2014 batch IAS who was born and brought up in Hyderabad. He earlier served at Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation and the office of the collector in Hyderabad.
Recently, the Telangana government had abolished the system of village revenue officers and village revenue assistants by bringing a new revenue law. Employees were assured that they would be adjusted in other branches of the governance. The village revenue assistants used to act as assistants in various functions in the Department of Revenue, Telangana.