By A. Jeyaraj
It is normal practice for MBI staff and the police to inform the identity of the person who made the complaint to the person against whom the complaint is made. One morning the security guard who patrols my area warned me to be careful. He informed that a Singh, the owner of the buffaloes, against whom I had complained to MBI, is looking for me. His buffaloes have destroyed the banana trees and plants in front of my house. He said not to quote him; he is also afraid.
It is imperative that MBI staff not inform the name of the complainant. This is not an isolated case; there are many instances. When a senior citizen complained about uncollected garbage near his place, MBI workers confronted him and told him to mind his business.
Few youngsters were drinking and making noise in a playground and one of the neighbours called the police. The police came and told the guys to disperse and also pointed to the house from which the complaint was lodged.
When I went to investigate a complaint made by a lady in Tiger Lane; she was afraid to give her particulars. She informed me that previously when the neighbours made a complaint, a few men came to their houses and warned them not to complain.
A friend of mine makes frequent complaints to his councillor and one night two men came to his house and asked why he was giving so much trouble to the councillor. They did not threaten him, but he felt it was not right for the councillor to resort to this type of tactics.
A number of residents have taken me to their houses to show the materials stacked by their neighbours, especially contractors, who store their construction materials in front of their houses. The residents are scared to complain saying that the contractor would take action against them. I tell them I cannot do anything; they must lodge a complaint.
In fact, many hawkers and stall owners whom I had interviewed are afraid to speak up saying that if they complain and their names are revealed, enforcement officers would take action against them.
It is time we put a stop to this fear culture. If names of complainants are not revealed, more people would come forward to complain and provide information to enable MBI to take action against irresponsible people.