The three big Cs!!!

July, 2020

Three Big Cs – Cancer, Corona & Corruption. Over the years, great progress has been made in fighting Cancer. Corona is a new kid on the block. Baby-steps are being taken to find a vaccine even as we are groping in the dark to find ways to manage ourselves. What about the oldest villain of the lot ? Corruption – the malady of the mind, deep rooted in our society, entrenched in our psyche that ‘it is a way of life’ ? Why is this not being combated ? Why am I bringing this up in these pandemic times ? Because at ground zero the evil Corruption monster keeps raising its ugly head and spreading its venomous tentacles at all places – even in food supplied and tests done in Corona times!

It is an open secret by now that some of the basic Corona tests that should cost around Rs.3,000 are jacked up by private corporate hospitals to Rs. 9,000. Lot of unqualified intermediaries (read agents who are contracted to get home-tests done) padding up the price without adding value. Bed numbers falsified. Corruption in the govt. machinery for procuring beds and medical equipments. I heard all this from one of my relatives who has first hand information. Why he even narrated his own story of corruption in the food supply contract that he got in April. While Nagaraj (real name masked) was happy that he got a contract for Rs. 6 lacs to supply food dabbas / packets to BBMP (Bangalore Municipality) for its workers, Asha workers, home guards, nurses, poor patients and also officials, he was taken aback that only part payment was released (mind you these contracts do not provide for any advance amount, it is only reimbursement). A small time hotelier with only he and his wife cooking, cleaning, supplying and serving, it is tough for Nagaraj who has pawned his wife’s jewels to finance the contract. He was happy that he got an opportunity to serve people during these pandemic times – he travelled to the most affected places, wearing the PPE gears and risking his life as he served hot, tasty food to the Corona warriors. But what pained him is the demands from the ‘hawks in the department’, right from the driver to the clerk to the accountant to the officer to ‘pass his bill’. Needless to say, at every stage there is a cut to be given. Shocking that even for Corona related service, one needs to ‘pay’ to get back his ‘rightful dues’ ! While I felt indignant, Nagaraj being an old hand at this game was resigned to his fate saying ‘nothing will change this sick mind’. Current update from him – he has lost the repeat contract because he couldn’t continue playing the game. Pretext given was of course that his food quality wasn’t good though he claims to the contrary. While Nagaraj is not a saint, I thought at least a life-shaking malaise like Corona should have shaken the system and brought some positive changes.

Alas, it only continues to get worse and rot. Any vaccine for Corruption ?!

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