A junior engineer has been suspended for allegedly switching off his mobile phone during the sangat darshan programme of Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) Lok Sabha candidate Harsimrat Kaur Badal. He has also been charged with failing to do his duty in helping the MP in the distribution of demand notices for tubewell electricity connections.
Labh Singh, a JE in Goniana sub-division of Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL), was allegedly not found on his duty during the visit of Harsimrat to the villages of the region on Friday. The Engineers' Union has, however, claimed that the allegation of switching off the mobile phone was an excuse, while Harsimrat was reportedly peeved at the JE for reportedly distributing demand notices of tubewell connections in her absence.
Members have claimed that this was a wrong impression that the MP had picked up from somewhere. Demand notices have always remained a heavy political property in Punjab where electricity power is supplied free of cost to farmers.
JEs Council (West Zone Bathinda) has claimed: "Labh Singh was on duty. His duty was at Deon village to facilitate MP Harsimrat Kaur Badal in the distribution of demand drafts. Some demand notices for tubewell connections meant for distribution at Barkandi village were stolen during the function," said Bhupinder Singh, the president of the JEs council.
"These demand notices were distributed among the villagers of Barkandi before the MP could reach there. Villagers claimed that they bought the notices in Rs 2,500 and the MP got wind of it. It was village politics. However, Harsimrat got the impression that it was JE who distributed the demand notice before her arrival," said Santokh Singh, council leader.
"He has been suspended for negligence. His phone was switched off and he was not present on duty during the visit of MP Harsimrat Kaur Badal for distributing demand notices for tube-well connections among farmers," said Paramjit Singh, SDO, Goniana sub-division.
"JEs have been cooperating with the PSPCL even as there is heavy work pressure ahead of Lok Sabha elections. Technically, JEs are not supposed to distribute demand drafts. Ideally demand drafts should be sent through post services by the clerical officials. However, JEs have being victimised," said Bhupinder Singh.
Suspension taken back?
Later in the evening, union claimed that the suspended JE has been reinstated, however, chief engineer PSPCL west zone Bathinda GS Dhaliwal said that suspension had not taken back yet and final decision will be taken only after consulting the management.