Why Jitan Manjhi's relaxation to corrupt 'small' hoarders and black marketeers not justified

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Jitan Ram Manjhi
Bihar Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi has sparked a new controversy by saying that his government would not treat hoarding and black marketing of goods by small traders as an act of crime. The Bihar CM has assured small traders not to worry about such activities as the government would focus on bigger sharks, who are found to be indulged in forgery of thousands of crores.

A Chief Minister justifying acts of corruption involving even 'small' amount of money cannot be tolerated. Though, such statement from a CM is not justified, but the politician is not entirely wrong in blaming bigger players who are responsible for rampant corruption.

At a function organised by Bihar State Food grain Businessmen's Association, the CM said on Tuesday,"I am aware that small traders indulge in hoarding and black marketing of goods to make profit in order to sustain their families and educate their children."

Manjhi said so just to appease a particular section for electoral gains?

"You please don't worry about your activities as the state government will not punish you for hoarding and black marketing on small scale," virtually defending hoarding and black marketing by petty traders Manjhi said.

Continuing in the same vein, he said that hoarding and black marketing by small traders have had no no impact on demand and supply of goods in market as the quantity of goods being hoarded by the traders was insignificant in volume.

The JD(U) leader's remark came at a time when the Centre has asked state governments to crack down on the hoarders and black marketeers to check inflation and price rise. It must be remembered that such insensitive statements bring nothing but humiliation to the state government.

Instead of defending his inaction against small hoarders and black marketeers Manjhi should have elaborated what actually his government has done till date to nab these 'bigger' sharks. One would have been happier if the chief minister had revealed whether his government tightened the noose around any of the big traders who were involved in bungling of crores of rupees. Sadly, Manjhi didn't do anything in this regard.

Nor did the CM reveal what mechanisms he has introduced through which his government will identify these big and small hoarders. If at all he was serious about the 'small' and 'big' hoarders Manjhi should have warned that everyone is under his sleuth's eyes and the violators will not escape punishment.

The stage gave a perfect opportunity to Manjhi to send a loud and clear message to all those indulged in corrupt practices that his government is not going to tolerate any kind of 'misappropriation.' Alas, he missed it. All he did was just to appease a particular section for electoral gains.

Also, it seems the Bihar CM has forgotten how the system in India works. It is being said that if a sum of Rs 10 is taken as a bribe, it is distributed among all depending on the hierarchy and the maximum cut is being sent to the one sitting at the top. The hoarders are just foot soldiers of this chain but receive the smallest from the share.

Similarly, none of the small hoarders and black marketeers can fend on their own. All they can do is, depending on bigger sharks and vice versa. And in order to curb rampant corruption and to corrode the very foundation of society, it is important to cut this demand and supply chain. Once, the pawns are grounded, those sitting at the top will automatically become dysfunctional.

Also, Manjhi failed to elaborate what he in his tenure of nearly three months has actually done to curb the corruption in Bihar. Such statements would encourage the small hoarders and traders to continue their corrupt practices instead of putting a restraint over them.

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