Human Interest
Podetti Ashok Kumar put up a board in his chamber that read: ‘Nenu Lancham Theesukonu’ in Telugu (I don’t take bribes) and ‘I am uncorrupted.’

An Assistant Divisional Engineer (ADE) in the Northern Power Distribution Corporation Limited (NPDCL) office in Karimnagar district, Telangana, is being mobbed by journalists for exclusive interviews. The reason? An interesting notice board he recently put up against the wall next to his desk.

ADE Podetti Ashok Kumar has garnered the attention of the media after his new notice board that reads: ‘Nenu Lancham Theesukonu’ in Telugu (I don’t take bribes) and ‘I am uncorrupted’ 

Ashok has been working in the electrical department for the past 14 years. Throughout his career, he says he has been harassed by people willing to bribe him with money to get the work done. 

Tired of explaining that he is against corruption, last month, he came up with the idea of putting up this board in his chamber, so that people wouldn’t harass him. 

“In our office, every day a new set of people come to the office and offer bribes. I was tired of repeating the same thing, that I don’t take bribes. Finally, when I had had enough, I thought I should put up a notice, which will clear all their doubts,” Ashok tells TNM.

Ashok joined the service in the year 2005 as an Assistant Engineer. He spent most of his service in Karimnagar town, and for three years he worked in Jagtial district. He was posted in NPDCL headquarters in Karimnagar, after being promoted as the ADE in 2017.

While many have appreciated the officer’s honesty and commitment, Ashok says he is facing the angst of many farmers and residents, who dislike his stand. “Some people are harassing me for doing the work as per procedure without violating any norms,” he says. 

It is not just the farmers, his own colleagues have been hostile against him, as they feel that he is implying that he is an exception. So, Ashok says he is compelled to make a clarification. “All I mean to say is: I am against corruption. I am not saying that the others are corrupt. I want to clarify this,” he adds.