The state government's plan to shuffle the IAS and PCS officers in view of the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections has hit a roadblock as a letter dated August 23 from the office of the deputy election commissioner to the Punjab chief secretary has banned the transfers of all officers involved in the preparation of electoral rolls.
The letter categorically states that the electoral rolls will be prepared from September 6 to January 6, 2014 and the officers connected with the preparation of elections and electoral rolls cannot be transferred.
The orders state that a prior permission of the Election Commission is mandatory for the transfer and the permission would be granted in exceptional cases where the transfer is unavoidable.
Interestingly, all deputy commissioners, additional deputy commissioners, sub-divisional magistrates, tehsildars and various other PCS officers posted in field jobs fall under the category of officials on election duty. Giving reference of the Representation of the People Act, the ECI has clarified to the state government that all these officials would remain on deputation with the Election Commission for a period of four months.
The orders have come as a setback to the state government which was due to transfer deputy commissioners, additional deputy commissioners and sub-divisional magistrates in major districts like Amritsar, Patiala, Sangrur and Ludhiana, who have been in the district for more than three years.
The government was aiming to shuffle the officials in the coming weeks so that the new officials could acclimatise themselves with the district before the election code of conduct for the Lok Sabha elections.
Sources in the personnel department said some senior officials had already been asked about their preferences.
State chief election commissioner Raminder Singh said officers, including deputy commissioner, additional deputy commissioners and SDMs, could not be transferred during these four months. He said the revision of electoral rolls would commence from September 6 and would conclude on January 6, 2104.