Government in general and her Babus in particular never cease to amuse you. They assure and reassure you so that you are never disappointed on their account. The latest novelty is a lofty idea floated; I am sure, by some Babu endorsed and accepted by other Babus as a panacea that now onward it would be compulsory to enclose photographs of places you visited on Government LTC for LTC claim. Ha...ha... I am sure only a brilliant Babu can come up with such a grand and glorious idea. The idea is taller than Qutab Minar, whiter than Taj Mahal, larger than Periyar sanctuary, prettier than Goa beaches and wilder than Andaman & Nicobar.
LTC has always been a source of enjoyment and entertainment in more ways than one. The great turning point in his field came when a creative Babu expanded the scheme, hitherto, limited to train services to accommodate buses to avail of the bonanza called LTC. Overnight in the by lanes of busy bazaars pigeon hole cabins of travel & transport firms mushroomed offering you most comfortable ride of your life to sea shore of Kanyakumari to wilds of Andaman plus pilgrimage to all the holy and not so holy places.
On a close parley behind closed doors it was divulged that you need not go anywhere, all the paper work will be fuzzed by your friendly travel agent for you on a nominal fee. The paper work would be complete and so impeccable that the best of sleuths in babudom can’t pick holes. I was really impressed and amazed at the ingenuity. For ultra timid babus, there was this ‘receipt’ of darshan & prasadam of a far flung popular temple in southernmost tip of south India. Of course, on a payment of extra fees. It didn’t end there. If you so desired, even a police challan of some obscure traffic violation could be arranged from a police station of the city you are ‘visiting’
Now this is what I call ‘Future technology’ even NASA would be envious of. Without moving from the comforts of your abode you have been shown having visited so many distant places of tourist interest. In an office, I know of, two travel agents had reaped the moolah by supplying forged tickets and documents to hundreds of arm chair travel enthusiasts. The truth was this travel agent had just one rickety bus each in their fleet. The bus was too aged and junkie to move about. When his LTC scam was discovered (more than 30 years back) it was simply swept under the carpet in a hush hush manner because ‘judge & jury’ too had availed of the similar facility from the same tour operators.
Then came an initiative first by private sector and later some progressive PSUs too adopted it. You take certain lump sum amount and be done with it. You go ...don’t go, not our look out. Case closed.
Latest innovation in LTC series (like you have had PSLV series) is that you are required to attach photographs of the places you claim to have visited. Bravo! But in today’s graphic design and photo shop age it just goes on to show that we have not learnt from Happy Singh of Lage Raho Munna bhai. A real pin head scheme bound to result in far too many happy happy Happy Singhs.