After 13 years of the file starting its journey, the Punjab Public Service Commission (PPSC) on Tuesday sat down to decide on choosing district revenue officers and tehsildars for nomination to the cadre of Punjab Civil Services (Executive). The result: Postponement again.
The nominations are in limbo since 1998, when the first case was forwarded to the PPSC. The process formally took off in 2008, but the objection remains the same and on Tuesday, too, it led to no decision being taken. As per the PPSC, the seniority list is "not proper".
This means that the 37 tehsildars and other revenue officers in fray for the 12 PCS posts remain in limbo.
The PPSC on Tuesday called a panel to finalise the process of nomination, and as per the rules, two government nominees were present too - personnel department secretary Anirudh Tiwari and Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) chief administrator Sarabjit Singh.
However, PPSC Chairman Lt Gen RS Sujlana (retd) raised objections over the seniority list by
pointing out some anomalies and asked the personnel secretary to submit a rectified list. "In the nomination process, seniority has a lot of weightage. However, the list submitted by the state government is not proper. We will restart the process only after the secretary submits a new list," Lt Gen Sujlana told HT.
He said there was no delay from the PPSC's side: "Whenever the government will rectify the errors, we will finalise the process."
The seniority tangle is not new. In 2009, the PPSC had sent back the requisition of the government (vide office letter PR 742/09/A-4/43), saying that the case was incomplete and details be furnished.
The government furnished some details, but the PPSC has now again found the case incomplete.
The state faces a shortage of nearly 180 PCS officers.
In Tuesday's meeting, PPSC members Narinder Singh Sangha and Hardeep Singh Grewal did not take part as names of their relatives are in the list of 37 candidates.
Elevation on paper leads to demotion on the ground
Chosen for the haloed cadre of Punjab Civil Services (Executive) after nearly two decades of files gathering dust, Jatinder Pal Singh, 53, should be a happy man. But mixed feelings now pervade his mind as he prepares to take charge of one sub-division, at best. At present, he is posted as divisional deputy director in the panchayats and rural development department, governing eight districts that cover over 20 sub-divisions.
An officer under the PCS (exec) usually gets his first posting as general assistant to deputy commissioner or as sub-divisional magistrate.
The case to fill one post of PCS (exec) from among block or district development and panchayat officers (BDPO/DDPO) was forwarded by the government in 1995, and the Punjab Public Service Commission (PPSC) was finally initiated in 2001. But the delay stretched longer as controversies marred the PPSC. First, its then chairman Ravinderpal Singh Sidhu was arrested in a cash-for-jobs scam, while his successor SK Sinha remained at loggerheads with the SAD-BJP government from 2006 onwards.
Jatinder Pal was a DDPO in 1995, and he outperformed BDPO Surinder Singh Dhillon in the interview. Had Jatinder Pal been promoted then, the irony caused by the bureaucratic delay could have been avoided.
But Jatinder Pal, who has five years to his retirement, is taking it sportingly, or so he claims. "I was never frustrated in the past 18 years," he told HT. "I worked hard and earned promotions in the department and became divisional deputy director in charge of Jalandhar division. I think the government will now, too, use my expertise and allot me a suitable post."