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Bijoy AK | June 30, 2003 16:11 IST

Whispersinthecorridors.com attempts to bring about transparency in public life

Did you know about the IAS officer being given formal permission to pursue a totally different career abroad? Or about the Prime Minister's increasing popularity after his overseas trips? If you want news on what's happening in the inner corridors of the government, then Whispers In The Corridors would be the right destination.

Backed by around 40 years of journalistic experience, Bhopal-based Dr Suresh Mehrotra, turned towards the Internet to fulfill his dream of creating a site tracking decision makers of our country. Dr Mehrotra decided to focus on bureaucratic buzz, being aware of the curiosity people have about what's going on in politics and the corporate world. Apart from bringing you the latest news, it uncovers irregularities and also exposes the whims and fancies of politicians.

Dr Mehrotra started out his venture on March 16, 2001. He started with one computer and an operator. "Everybody thinks I am running this from a secretariat, but the picture is altogether different. I have set up a one room office in my residence and today I have two computers."

Initially there was hardly any traffic. Dr Mehrotra says word-of-mouth publicity created awareness over time. Many IAS, IPS and IFS officers in the country and abroad are avid fans of the site. "This is the only source of information for the officers posted in Indian embassies, the World Bank, ADB and other places," says Dr Mehrotra.

His top connections in the right places are his source for news. "Otherwise, it's really a one-man show. This site has no support from any individual or business house. With God's grace, this site is now widely debated in the corridors of power throughout the country. My 40 years of experience has helped me in this mission." Dr Mehrotra feels it is the Net's amazing 'reachability' factor that makes it more promising when compared to the print media.

The hundreds of mails he receives every day gives him the satisfaction of doing something different. An IAS officer's wife writes: "Sometimes, news can be simply gossip, but often, the newsmaker himself is surprised at how the site manages to get exclusive news that was supposed to be a secret."

Says Dr Mehrotra: "Feedback is encouraging. When I expose wrongdoings through my site, it is always appreciated. The Web can really help individuals arrest the rot," he points out.

You might choose to call him a crusader but Dr Mehrotra shies away from the tag. "I don't see myself as one. I am only doing a service for the decision makers of this country. I do expose them when it is necessary." According to him, one positive development is the increasing interest in the Internet among bureaucrats. "Even those who never knew what browsing is all about are now enjoying getting online."

Dr Mehrotra is quite satisfied with the way things are going on at present. Describing the site as his lifetime commitment and dedication, this 58-year-old journalist now wants to make his effort popular at a national level. He ends: "I have been able to be free and fair because I don't have any business interest. It's simply a mission."

(Dr Suresh Mehrotra edited the Bhopal-based English dailies National Mail and Hindi daily Dainik Naiduniya. He has been associated with the UNI, Free Press Journal, Dainik Bhaskar and the Hindustan Times. He had been writing columns on bureaucracy before launching his site)

 



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