Before Yogi, Veer Bahadur chose to go tough on latecomers
I was barely 15-years-old then but I had heard how the gates of the secretariat were closed beyond a fixed time and in some cases even cabinet ministers had to return as the gates were closed, said BJP MLA Fateh Bahadur, son of the late Veer Bahadur Singh.lucknow Updated: Apr 27, 2017 12:46 IST
The kind of push that the month-old Yogi Adityanath government is making to ensure punctuality in government offices has few parallels in Uttar Pradesh.
The last such effort to ensure that government employees report on time in government offices in UP was witnessed some 30 years ago when the then chief minister Veer Bahadur Singh, who like Adityanath also hailed from Gorakhpur, had ordered closure of secretariat gates 15 minutes after the stipulated arrival time of 10am.
“I was barely 15-years-old then but I had heard how the gates of the secretariat were closed beyond a fixed time and in some cases even cabinet ministers had to return as the gates were closed,” BJP MLA Fateh Bahadur, son of the late Veer Bahadur Singh, reminisced while talking to HT.
How did that help?
“Efficiency increased. More work started being done in the same time,” Fateh Bahadur, who has offered to vacate his assembly seat to pave the way for the chief minister’s election to the house, said.
Will Yogi also get the secretariat gates shut? “I can’t comment about Yogiji,” says Fateh Bahadur.
Only last week, agriculture minister Surya Pratap Shahi had ordered closure of the gates of the agriculture directorate after arriving there unannounced to check employees’ attendance after 10am.
“They have been addicted to coming late to offices during the last 15 years, but now they have to change their habits,” Shahi told HT.
Taken aback, the employees were seen trying to enter the office premises by scaling the walls of the directorate. After checking attendance, Shahi had ordered a day’s salary cut for those who were either found missing or reported late.
Officials of the secretariat administration department (SAD) admit that punctuality has gone up manifold and files are moving quickly in the Adityanath dispensation.
“These days, offices are open even on holidays due to departmental presentations being made before the chief minister,” an SAD official said.
Instead of following the Veer Bahadur model of forcing the closure of secretariat gates, the Adityanath government plans to introduce biometric attendance in all government schools and offices, right down to the district level.
“Back then, the closure of secretariat gates created its own problems and there were several protests against the move. I think the introduction of biometric attendance will also achieve the same objective,” a source in the government said. The state government has already ordered biometric attendance in all secondary and aided government schools from July 25.
“Everyone needs to realise that it’s not just a regime change for we want to ring in a new work culture in the state,” says deputy chief minister Keshav Prasad Maurya who conducted a surprise check of the public works department (PWD) on Tuesday. The ministers too are reporting on time.
“When the CM is so punctual, everyone else can’t help but emulate him. We have a workaholic CM,” says health minister Siddharth Nath Singh. Ministers from Satyadev Pachauri to Mohsin Raza, the lone Muslim face of the Yogi government, have been among the ministers who have been inspecting offices, checking for cleanliness.
The bureaucrats who are being made to stay awake till midnight due to departmental presentations, say that their job has stretched well beyond their working hours.
“Now, of course with BJP government both in the state and the centre we are answerable on two counts. Earlier, the pressure from the centre wasn’t as much,” a bureaucrat said adding the biometric attendance was already operational in the secretariat.