Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal on Sunday directed officials in his government not to confine themselves to their air-conditioned offices, but visit the villages too to redress the problems of citizens.
"Officers should visit the villages for taking stock of problems at the grassroots and find a viable solution to mitigate people's woes with the active support of sarpanchs and panches," directed Badal to officers in a public address, at a gathering of oath taking ceremony of the newly-elected sarpanchs and panches.
He also directed the officers to give due respect to the sarpanchs and panches in matters pertaining villages. He also said that any complaint regarding misconduct of officers with these representatives of people will be dealt with strictly.
He added that to ensure the comprehensive development of villages, officers must interact with the people and know their problems inside-out. "Villages are the bedrock of the state and their development could only lead to the state's development," he claimed.
Terming the migration of population from villages towards the cities, the CM said that it was a dangerous trend and needed to be checked.
"The state government is aware of the repercussions of unplanned migration from cities to the villages and had thus launched several schemes to bring rural areas on a par with urban areas," he said.
Lashing out at the Congress-led UPA government, the CM claimed that the leaders were insulated from the relaitties of everyday life and did not understand the grievances of a common man.
Rural development minister Surjit Singh Rakhra said that as per the directions of chief minister, panchayat elections across the state were conducted in a free and fair manner. He added that the sarpanchs and panches should now hands to develop these villages by rising above parochial considerations.