The price good men pay for indifference to public affairs is to be ruled by evil men. – Plato
In an earlier post where I was complaining about the lack of revolutionaries in the system, little did I know that in a few days I would be experiencing the wisdom of Plato first hand.
We are in the process of shifting our offices from Goregaon to Andheri. The office is within 2km of my home, and pretty much what you call my locality. Due to my efforts in securing kindergarten admission for my daughter, I have also come in touch with our local administration.
Now, the person in charge of the sprucing up of the new office did not do his homework, and started the interior decoration of the office without any checks with the local authorities. Three months down the construction, when we have shifted into a makeshift office (its going to be our computer lab in the new office), and have no other alternative offices to go to, the local authorities intervened and stopped the construction.
Upon enquiry, we found out that a permission needs to be taken from the Buildings and Industries department of the Bruhanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC). Without this said permission, construction cannot go on.
Since the BMC officials refuse to parlay with “north-Indians” and they are from the Shiv Sena party, guess who has to liaison between the organization and the BMC :)
When I went to the officials, I was made to wait indefinitely biding for my time to come. Fortunately, I knew someone higher up in their chain of command and not wanting to play the waiting game, I made the required calls, and got to meet the concerned person.
I do not know whether it was my fortune or misfortune, but the person with whom I had clout in the administration was also the source of my predicament! It was his department that had raised the issue and was waiting for my organization to respond.
So began the diplomatic dance. The dance where you avoid saying the obvious and stick to the unsaid protocol. All said and done, I was presented with two choices – one, the way of the right, wherein we would have to chase this permission across the city for 3-6 months. The other, the way of the corrupt, wherein we have to pay for silencing the officials.
The sum mentioned was in the right range … I don’t know how these officials do it, but someone needs to learn pricing from them. The amount was not too high for us to outright say no, it was lower than the opportunity cost of keeping our employees at their homes :), and yet it was high enough to grease the right palms and keep their pockets filled.
We are PWN’ed and most likely will give in to their demands. The price of sheer negligence on one senior partner’s part is a 2 lakh bribe. Talking about corruption is one thing, but when the efforts to fight the system means you will lose more than what you will save, then does it make sense to fight it? We would be writing it off this year.