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Officers for curbs on ministers

IN THE eight-hour-long deliberations on the first day of Manthan 2007 in Bhopal, senior officers talked of protection from harassment and curb on ministers? role in transfer of employees.

india Updated: Jan 14, 2007 16:45 IST

IN THE eight-hour-long deliberations on the first day of Manthan 2007 in Bhopal, senior officers talked of protection from harassment and curb on ministers’ role in transfer of employees.

There were a few suggestions from groups of officials and ministers, which deliberated on seven subjects — ranging from governance to livelihood to education.

An official from the ‘Governance’ group said the functioning of officers gets affected because of lacunae in the system. Any sub-inspector is free to lodge an FIR against them and even a constable is free to harass them on the basis of the FIR. He asked who was there to decide whether what they do is right or wrong. He made a suggestion: government should protect officials from harassment.

An official from another group suggested that the ministers concentrate on their actual work rather than on transfers. Hence, there should be a well-placed mechanism for transfers and ministers should focus on the task in hand rather than transfers and postings.     

According to official sources, the heads of groups were flooded with suggestions with roughly 100 to 150 suggestions from each of the groups. The members were asked to express their views on  ways to improve the governance and difficulties they face.

Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan spent the day at the Academy of Administration and talked to the groups. He asked the officials to meet him in person if they wanted to interact with him on any issue.

One collector said it was a good experience for an officer like him, who worked in the field but hardly had the opportunity to interact with the Chief Minister and higher-ups so freely. Those sitting in the mantralaya would realise the difficulties officers in field face, he said.

Another important suggestion was to increase the size of panchayat by merging four to five panchayats and making one big panchayat in its place. This, the officers felt, would help in easy availability of patwaris and nurses at one place.
The ‘Infrastructure’ group suggested recruitment in the works department. At present, average age of engineers in works departments was 53-55. If the trend continued, the departments would not have good and young engineers after four to five years, a minister said.

Collectors of Shivpuri, Morena, Bhind, Dhar, Anuppur, Rajgarh, Chhindwada and Datia met the CM separately and complained that they were not able to hold district planning committee meetings because of non-availability of time on part of district in charge ministers. A few of the collectors also complained to the CM about the district in charge ministers exerting pressure on them for works which rules don’t permit.