Solved Ethics Papers

Q13. A School at The Fort

Q13. You are heading a district administration in a particular department. Your senior officer calls you from the state headquarters and tells you that a plot in Rampur village is to have a building constructed on it for a school. A visit is scheduled during which he will visit the site along with the chief engineer and the senior architect. He wants you to check out all the papers relating to it and ensure that the visit is properly arranged. You examine the file which relates to the period before you had joined the department. The land was acquired for the local panchayat at a nominal cost and the papers showed that clearance certificates are available for two of the three authorities who have to certify the site’s suitability. There is no certification by the architect available on file. You decide to visit Rampur to ensure that all is in order as stated in the file. When you visit Rampur, you find that the plot under reference is a part of Thakurgarh fort and that the walls, ramparts, etc., are running across it. The fort is quite away from the main village, therefore, a school here will be a serious inconvenience for the children. However, the area near the village has potential to expand into a larger residential area. The development charges on the existing plot, at the fort, will be very high and the question of heritage site has not been addressed. Moreover, the sarpanch, at the time of acquisition of the land, was a relative of your predecessor. The whole transaction appears to have been done with some vested interest.
(a) List the likely vested interest/s of the concerned parties.
 
(b) Some of the options for action available to you are listed below.\demerits of each of the options:
(i) You can await the visit of the superior officer and let him take a decision.
(ii) You can seek his advice in writing or on phone.
(iii) You can consult your predecessor/colleagues, etc., and then decide what to do.
(iv) You can find out if any alternate plot can be got in exchange and then send a comprehensive written report.
 
Can you suggest any other option with proper justification? (25 marks) (250 words)
 
Answer
(a) In this case, the plot of land for school is far away from the village and it would be difficult for children to attend the school. Further, the plot of land is located within the heritage site and it would not be possible to construct the school without damaging the site. Hence, it is possible that the predecessor was colluding with the sarpanch so that government develops the area near the school site and they can later sell the land at a much higher cost later.
 
(b) (i) If we wait for the senior officer to come, we can use his experience and expertise. However, it would delay the decision-making process
(ii) If we seek his advice in writing or on phone, we can rectify the mistake early. However, senior officer may be displeased, if he comes across new facts during his visit.
(iii) We may consult the predecessor and colleagues to know their side of the story for better decision-making. However, this may alert them that their mischief has been detected. They may try to manipulate facts or destroy records.
(iv) If we can find a good plot near the village in exchange for this plot, it would solve the problem of the heritage site and enable us to construct the school near the village. This seems to be the best option However, this would mean changing a plan already approved by government.
 
We may also discuss the matter with the villagers for some more alternatives, which may be presented before the senior officer during his visit for his approval. (270 words) 
Q13. A School at The Fort
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