Ethics Case Study – 49

Krishna Pushkaram is a festival of River Krishna which normally occurs once in 12 years. The Srisailam temple is going to receive devotees from Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Telangana and Maharashtra for Krishna Pushkararam as River Krishna flows very close to the temple town.

You are the district collector of Kurnool district in Andhra Pradesh where this temple town is located.

You are presently in-charge for the works on construction of new bathing ghats, toilets and changing rooms, sinking of borewells, repair to the old ghats, lighting arrangements at bathing ghats, extension works on Atmakur-Sangameswaram road and laying of a 5 km bitumen road between Kapileswaram and Sangameswaram for this festival.

The staff of Panchayat Raj, Endowments department, Disaster Managment team and Transport department have the responsibility of day-to-day inspection of the site and are reporting to you, while you are finally reporting to the Deputy Chief Minister.

While the construction is heading towards completion, the respective staff have been regularly reporting that all construction is taking place as per designed specifications.

However, in one of your surprise inspections, you have noticed some serious nonconformities and lacunae which, in your opinion, are likely to affect the safety of the pilgrims.

Rectification of these lacunae at this stage would require a substantial amount of demolition and rework which will cause a hard-hitting loss to the contractors and will also delay completion.

There is a lot of public pressure on you to get this construction completed as per schedule at any cost otherwise the government will draw flak from pilgrims for its failure to make adequate arrangements.

When you brought this matter to the notice of the Deputy Chief Minister, he advised you that in his opinion it is not a very serious lapse and may be ignored.

He advised for further expediting the construction work for completion in time. However, you are convinced that this was a serious matter which might affect public safety and should not be left unaddressed.

What will you do in such a situation? Some of the options are given below. Evaluate the merits and demerits of each of these options and finally suggest what course of action you would like to take, giving reasons.

(a) Follow the advice of the Deputy Chief Minister and go ahead.

(b) Make an exhaustive report of the situation bringing out all facts and analysis along with your own viewpoints stated clearly and seek for written orders from the Deputy Chief Minister.

(c) Call for explanation from the staff of Panchayat Raj, Endowments department, Disaster Management team and Transport department and issue orders to the contractors for necessary correction within targeted time.

(d) Highlight the issue so that it reaches to the Chief Minister of the State above the Deputy Chief Minister.

(e) Considering the rigid attitude of the Deputy Chief Minister, pursue transfer from the project or report sick.

20 marks / 250 words.

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