40 officers found absent from office in Punjab

Chandigarh : Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal Tuesday asked the Chief Secretary and Director General of Police (DGP) to seek explanations from 18 Deputy Commissioners (DCs) and 22 Senior Superintendents of Police (SSPs) who were found “not present” in their offices during a surprise phone check.

Officials at the Chief Minister’s Office (CMO) called up the landline numbers of the district administrative and police chiefs between 9.20 a.m. and 10 a.m. Monday, a spokesperson of the chief minister’s office said.

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Only four DCs were found to be in their offices. These included Ropar, SBS Nagar (Nawanshehar), Sri Muktsar Sahib and Bathinda DCs.

The DCs who were not present in their offices included that of Amritsar, Barnala, Fatehgarh Sahib, Faridkot, Fazilka, Gurdaspur, Hoshiarpur, Jalandhar, Kapurthala, Mansa, Mohali, Pathankot, Patiala, Tarn Taran, Moga, Ludhiana, Sangrur and Ferozepur.

Among SSPs, only those in Barnala and Mohali were found present while the remaining 22 SSPs were not present in their offices on the same date and time as the DCs.

“None from the offices of SSP Patiala and Muktsar picked up their phones,” the spokesperson said.

He said that the check was done to ensure punctuality and discipline amongst officers.

The Punjab government had, earlier this month, banned district officers from working from their camp offices at their residences. The officers were asked to ensure their availability in their offices for the general public from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

“The chief minister had taken serious note of the growing tendency amongst several officers to operate from the camp office at their residences due to which the people coming from far off places had to face a lot of inconvenience and hardship to get their work done in government offices,” the spokesperson said.

“Subsequently, Badal had strictly warned such officers to shun this undesirable practice and asked them to function from their offices from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on all working days to ensure prompt and hassle free delivery of services to the general public and a notification to this effect was also issued by the state government recently,” he added.

The ruling Shiromani Akali Dal-Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) alliance government, which has been in power in Punjab since 2007, had to face anti-incumbency in the recent Lok Sabha polls. The alliance could win only six out of the 13 Lok Sabha seats in the state.