It took several weeks for a senior Ministerial one hailing from Wayamba to find suitable space for his office. Once comfortably installed in office, he found to his annoyance that there were no chairs made available for his visitors. He sent for his Ministry secretary and asked him to see that at least four chairs were placed opposite his table for his visitors. And he was taken aback by the reply given by his secretary: “Sir, I can of course, make the chairs available for your visitors. But it may take at least two to three months!”
“Nonsense! Unbelievable! Why do you want two to three months to supply four chairs?!” An angry Ministerial one queried.
“Excuse me, Sir, I’ll explain,” replied the secretary. “We don’t have extra chairs. So we have to purchase them. We have to follow the usual tender procedure in this regard. Calling for tenders and selecting the one quoting the lowest price take time…”
“Utter nonsense!” shouted the Ministerial one. “What b…y tender procedure to buy four chairs!”
“Sir, you ought to be aware that a number of public officials who had to carry out orders from higher authorities without observing the stipulated procedures had to face Police inquiries or charges in courts. So, Sir, whatever we do should conform to rules and regulations. I am a poor man. I don’t want to get into hot water and lose my old-age pension. Please don’t misunderstand me…” the official was trying to explain his plight.
“You do any damn thing you want,” was the Minister’s curt rejoinder.
The high official has already taken action to call for quotations for the purchase of four chairs, they say.