Deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal's sangat darshan and the strike by Suwidha centre employees came as a double blow to members of the public, who visited the mini-secretariat the DC office on Tuesday for getting their files cleared or official work done.
That the officials thought it fit to be around the deputy CM and is entourage on a day officials marked to attend to the grievances of the public was surprising, but not unexpected.
Sukhbir spent his time listening to the grievances of the public in five Bathinda villages. However, people in the city were a harassed lot as they claimed that no official was found to be seated at the office concerned, with of them apparently busy in VVIP duty at the sangat darshan.
HT spoke to some people who visited the mini-secretariat, but were forced to leave without getting their work done.
A resident Buta Singh claimed: "This is the 12th time that I am returning home without meeting the DC. I won the seat of member panchayat with 99 votes against 88 by my opponent. The record has been reversed to a clerical error and I am being unnecessarily made to suffer. We were not informed about the DC's absence from office on Tuesday."
Jarnail Kaur, 83, has been struggling to get her share of husband's property.
"I owned 16 acres of which 4 acres were sold by one of my son. The left out land was transferred to grandsons and I was simply left penniless. The SDM ordered a pension for her, but her family has not paid her. On Thursday again, she returned disappointed."
Deputy commissioner, Kamal Kishore Yadav said: "It is true that Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays are the days when we are to remain in our offices. However, there can be exceptions and today was one, However, arrangements were made. ADC (general) was seated at the office."
"When officers are out of office, the second rung of government employees also do not work for the people. They make excuses as their bosses and are afraid to take responsibility and do any work. The public suffers," said Buta Singh.
The strike by Suwidha centre employees has also hit work and has been a source of trouble for the common man.
Hardev Singh, a local, came for the renewal of his driving licence and was disappointed at not getting his work done. "The office is locked. The strike must end. The public is being inconvenienced."
Mohammad Kudoos, a driver, is worried that another day has gone by without work on his licence renewal application, the last date for which is January 5.
Sanjeet Kumar, who came to get his ration card corrected, said: "The office has been locked. Why is at least a single individual not there. I do not know why the workers are creating trouble. The strike should be called off."