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Badal’s surprise check finds 14 officers absent

Chandigarh : At least 14 senior officers were found absent during a surprise check by Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal Monday morning at the state’s mini-secretariat here.

Badal, 86, landed at the mini-secretariat complex in Sector 9 here just after 9 a.m. As he went around the floors where senior officers sit, he found at least 14 of them had not reached their offices on time.

A spokesperson of the Chief Minister’s Office said the move was aimed at ensuring punctuality and discipline in government offices and to ensure that grievances of the common people were addressed.

The officers who were not found present in their offices included Principal Secretary (Defence Services) S.R. Ladhar, Principal Secretary (Housing and Urban Development) A. Venu Prasad, Principal Secretary (Surplus Pool) Dharamvir and Principal Secretary (Jails and General Administration) Sanjay Kumar.

Secretary (Transport) Anurag Aggarwal, Secretary (Freedom Fighters) V.K. Janjua, Secretary (Finance) J.M. Balamurgam, Special Secretary (PWD) H.S. Kandhola, Special Secretary (Transport) Amarpal Singh, Special Secretary (Higher Education) Chander Gaind, Special Secretary (Civil Aviation) A.P.S. Virk, Secretary (School Education) Rahul Bhandari, Additional Secretary (Health and Family Welfare) Avtar Chand Sharma and OSD (Litigation) R.L. Mehta were also found absent.

The Punjab government has not yet proposed any action against the absent officers.

However, a number of other senior officers were found present in their offices when Badal visited the office complex. Two officers, who were to superannuate Monday, were also present in their offices at the right time on the last working day of their government careers. Badal complimented them for this.

The chief minister also interacted with the officials present in their offices, to know their problems and hardships coming in way of discharging their duties.

The chief minister also checked the civil dispensary at the mini-secretariat and found all the doctors and paramedics present. A few junior employees and the entire staff of the National Informatics Centre (NIC) were absent.

Badal had recently directed officers to ensure their presence in offices during official working hours. He had also imposed a ban on officers in districts working from their camp offices at their official residences instead of attending regular office.