A retired officer and his Shanti Puja at age 80
Abracadabra By K. B. Ganapathy, Columns

A retired officer and his Shanti Puja at age 80

Good governance is possible only with such officers

Early this morning while having breakfast, my landline phone rang. My wife picked up the handset and said it was from Shiva Roy. Since she knew my acquaintance with him, she asked me if I liked to take the call. “Of course yes,” I said and received the cordless phone. After exchanging pleasantries, Shiva Roy said that tomorrow 27th December he was having a Shanti Puja in connection with his 80th birthday celebrated on Dec.12 and he would like me to attend a luncheon party at his farm house on Bannur Road. As I was speaking to him, I recalled an Abracadabra I wrote way back on 4th February 1998 when he retired from service as an Accounts Officer of MUDA.

At a time CITB and its later avatar MUDA was known more for the corruption of its officers and staff and less for their integrity and service to the public. There were only a few honest and hard working officers and staff who could be counted on our fingers. Among them was one shining star, that too in a most important Accounts Department of those days, as its head A.K. Shiva Roy. I was told, those days, every engineer and even administrative staff would feel intimidated by his presence because of his outspoken nature and strict  adherence of rules.

It was his instructions to his attendants not to make any one who came to visit him at his office to wait for long. Every visitor’s presence should be informed to him immediately so that he could ‘manage his time’ to give interview to the visitor as quickly as possible.

I was told by one Army Officer of the rank of Lt. Col. that he was lucky to be introduced to A.K. Shiva Roy, the Accounts Officer, before he could meet any other officer in MUDA for resolving a problem related to his site allotted by CITB. His problem. He had got a 60’x40’ site from the Army quota through the system of lottery, for selecting the site beneficiary. Thereafter, he went back to his duty at Leh Ladakh. When his local contact went to take the allotment letter, to his shock he was told that the site had been resumed for not making the payment or for some other such reason without any intimation to him. It was then he was advised to contact Accounts Officer A.K. Shiva Roy who helped the Army Officer get his site.

Here below is produced the Abracadabra I wrote when he retired, as mentioned above, under the title ‘An Officer Retires.’ Now read on…

In these days of vitiated and generally inefficient governmental administration an officer who is a role model is as rare as hen’s teeth.

It is unfortunate some officers are efficient only when they are well oiled with bribe. And there are officers who are not efficient even with bribe. And finally there are committed officers who are hardworking and also honest. This last category of officers are often disliked and even mocked at by their own inefficient and corrupt colleagues. Unfortunately, even the higher officers are helpless in correcting this kind of human behaviour and relationship.

Nevertheless, the idealist officers carry on and some of them even manage to retire from service unscathed and successfully ducking the planted snare of CoD and Lokayukta (remember the recent tragedy of the Chief Drill Instructor Mr. Othageri of Karnataka Police Academy here in city).

One such good officer who retired on 31st January 1998, after serving for 33 years, two months and six days is Mr. A.K. Shiva Roy, the Accounts Officer of MUDA.

I understand he belonged to the State Accounts Department and served MUDA for more than 12 years and had seen 12 or 13 Chairmen preside over MUDA, earlier CITB.

I have known this gentleman officer probably for all of his 12 years service in MUDA and found him a straight shooter and a daunting officer, what with his ramrod mush and a stout physique with a fair complexion and a rotund face. Indeed, a handsome person generally found in Kodagu from where he hails.

I asked him recently who did he think was the best politically appointed Chairman of MUDA. His answer Mr. Madegowda who came to be known as Mane Made Gowda (of Asha Mandira Scheme). I then asked him who was the best non-political Chairman. His answer was Mr. Muniswamy, the IAS Officer. There was also another officer, Mr. Roy says, in Mr. Vijay Bhaskar. As an Accounts Officer Mr. Shiva Roy’s contribution to MUDA was considerable. He was pretty smart in raising funds through auctioning of sites. He had his typical style of rousing the interest of the bidders in the site thereby fetching the highest price. He also streamlined the accounts despite the mess. He was also helpful in his advice and guidance to all those who approached him as a last resort of hope. Since he was a high profile officer, I thought he must have been given a grand send-off the day he laid down the office or thereafter. His answer to my enquiry was true to his nature. Quoting a dialogue in Mahabharata in chaste Kannada which means, “Never have food in the house of your enemies,” he said, he did not want any send-off.

Urged to explain he said, a few years back a clerk in MUDA who was corrupt and indulged in malpractice in the matter of allotment of sites etc., had carried tales to the then MUDA Commissioner (name withheld) saying, ‘Sir the MUDA is ruined because of Mr. Shiva Roy’ and more. Of course, the message ultimately reached Mr. Shiva Roy who explained the allegation was made because he (Mr. Shiva Roy) tried to curb malpractice and cheating by this ugly clerk. Mr. Shiva Roy then reminded me of the good old Kannada saying RArvÀªÁ¢ ¯ÉÆÃPÀ «gÉÆâü (the world detests the one who takes a firm stand).

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However, his mother department remembered him with as much love as that of a mother when he retired. The State Accounts Department’s local Audit Office at Saraswathipuram gave him a send-off eulogising his services to the Department as an outstanding officer.—PUCK

e-mail: [email protected]

December 26, 2018

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