The first incident happened a few years ago.
There are occasional inspections conducted on business units by the Inspector of factories in the town I live and work. But usually the trumpeted inspections happen a few weeks before the festive season of Deepavali, to remind business units to shell out the yearly quota of consideration to the Government officials. Unashamedly officers and their cahoots venture from departments like Income Tax, Provident Fund Directorate, Employees State Insurance Corporation, Inspector of Factories, Customs Dept, etc. And the exercise is clamantly conducted, both by the Business units and the officials!
At that point in time my business unit was not registered with the Provident Fund and ESI offices, though it in fact was statutory to be registered. More because of the unique situation in this business town where employees refuse to part with their contributions towards Provident fund and ESI. So the employers too did not pursue the matter much.
The via media was to grease the inspectors from the offices of Provident Fund and ESI.
Such an inspector began hounding me. And though I told him that I was willing to register with the department soon, he threatened that he will impose penal fine on me with retrospective effect. And that could run into a few lakhs in the least. The alternate was compromise formula where I part with twenty five thousand Rupees as my contribution to his kitty.I thought and declined. He used his official experience and clout to scare the hell out of me, laying down the other consequences even if I pay the fine or go for litigation.
I agreed to the via media. And he agreed to come early the next morning to collect the money. He did come and in tow a teen age boy with an attaché brief case. The money was received by the boy and he nonchalantly put it into his bag and ticked off in his diary against my name. The Inspector parted with a vigorous hand shake, and assuring me of his services all the while. I saw him to the door and then I enquired who the boy was. “Well this is my eldest son. He is second year in college”. said the Inspector. I stood staring at the father and son duo as they departed in their Maruti car.
Looking back at the very incident it is disturbing still. Because the parent initiates the child into a conduct and life that would be formatively very damaging .for the child! And when a handful or a dozen of such children grow into men and women the society will fall apart.I felt unkind to myself .
The second incident was of a similar kind, but had a different twist, more because of my recalcitrant attitude. An official from the fire Service called up and demanded contribution. I gave him a hundred Rupees. He refused to accept and demanded five thousand Rupees. I declined sternly. He made a quick inspection of the factory premises and declared that the fire extinguishers installed were far few than the requirement. And that was an infringement of the rules. Hence I could be penalized. An argument ensued. He did not reply to my question, as to what right he had to demand from me. But he threw the one hundred Rupee note on the table and jumped up gesticulating. He warned that I will know his prowess when my premises faces a fire break out. And then he will ensure that not one fire tender is at our doors.
I remembered the pictures and stories about the NYFD on the day Sept 11 2002.
But well this is us!!!
But well this is us!!!