PUCL Bulletin, May 2001

Rotary Manava Seva Awards 2001
Dr. Vineeta Gupta & Bhure Lal (IAS) Conferred Awards for Fighting Corruption

Rotary Manav Seva Awards instituted by the support and contribution of S. J. Jindal Trust were conferred on March 24 at the India Habitat Centre on Dr Vineeta Gupta, an active member of the PUCL from Punjab, member of its National Council and Shri Bhure Lal (I.A.S), chairman and managing director, Food Corporation of India. The Award carries a cash prize of Rs.2 lakh and a citation. Others who have received this award in previous years include justice V.R. Krishna Aiyer, Shri C Subramaniam, Shri Anna Hazare, and Ms Indira Jai Singh. The members of jury were justice Ms Sujata V Manoher, Shri KK Madan, and Shri H.K. Dua.

Dr Vineeta Gupta has "Investigated and reported scores of corruption cases in the Punjab Health Department; cases of inhuman police torture through third degree methods, custodial deaths, atrocities on women and similar other human rights violation. She filed a number of public interest litigation in courts seeking speedy disposal of vigilance cases pending against several senior Punjab government officials, and calling for the removal of all instruments of torture from Police stations, interrogation centers and police posts," says that Citation presented.

Dr. Vineeta Gupta, founder General Secretary of Insaaf International, said in her acceptance speech that she was honoured to receive the Award from the hands of Justice MN Venkatachaliah. She thanked her family members, especially her father Ved Prakash Gupta for support during the periods of harassment. She also expressed her appreciation and gratitude to Dr. Y.P. Chhibbar, General Secretary of the PUCL for having faith in her, when the times were very tough. She narrated a number of incidents which "left scars on her soul and changed the course of her life and gave new direction to her work.
Once a poor helpless, fourteen-year-old boy, a migrant laborer came to the Government hospital with his arm cut in a thrasher, bleeding profusely. He was crying in pain. The doctor on duty instead of giving immediate treatment waited for the boy's employers to grease his palm. I was not allowed to help him, as I was not on emergency duty. I pleaded with my colleague to at least give painkillers to the child. The laugh of that doctor still rings in my ears with which he told me that I did not know the skills of the trade. If the child stops crying before his employers reached, then why would they pay him any money.
I attended upon a young woman with more than 90% burns, delivering a dead asphyxiated seven months old foetus on her deathbed in District Civil hospital. Her drunkard husband burned her after pouring liquor. Before dying, she told me with tears rolling down her charred cheeks that the doctor promised to save her and her unborn child if she made a statement in favour of her husband. One of the hospital nurses had seen the attending doctor receiving a bundle of notes from the accused. I failed to get her any justice though I knew for fact that doctor and policeman on duty had accepted bribe from her in laws. I ran from pillar to post to get her statement re- recorded but she died before this sluggish system could move.

In World Bank Funded Reproductive & Child Health (RCH) Project in Sangrur, Punjab, Inspection committee was formed, it completed journey covering hundreds of Kilometers visiting 11 firms in four different cities, inspected thousands of pieces to be purchased, prepared reports, submitted it to the officials at Chandigarh, orders were placed and all inspected goods reached Sangrur within only two days. These happened to be last two days of financial year, (30 and 31.3.99). Case under prevention of corruption act and other sections was registered. The official heading the project was promoted to Home Secretary who controlled the investigation. And since then nothing has been heard of the case.

Shocking facts came to light in Submission flurosis Project (SPF) of Public Health Department, Punjab in village Bhagi Bandar. Not even a single paisa was allocated for foundation stone lying ceremony. Out of 25 lakhs available for the whole scheme to upgrade the water supply of the village, lakhs of rupees were shown to have been spent for the ceremony. The passing and releasing the money for these expenses without any trouble is the tell tale of the dacoity of the public funds that is being done these days by the nexus of corrupt politicians and bureaucrats, be it any political party ruling the state. Stage for dancers and VIPs were shown to be constructed at the cost of 49000/- and 45000/- Rs 1.5 Lakh for sitting arrangements, 26000/- on lighting arrangement in day time function. The most audacious expenses were shown as spent on the entertainment of the VIPs. For breakfast of 24 persons Rs 34000/- along with Paranthas and cheese Pakoras 11000/- meals 29000/-. This was in a small village function of about two hours."

Home | Index