Sunday, September 15, 2002, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Staff down with ‘poll fever’
Ludhiana DC issues show-cause notices
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 14
The issue of poll duty by local employees in the Jammu and Kashmir legislative elections has taken a serious turn here with the district administration deciding to issue notices to about 200 employees for running away from national duty. It also threatened to start dismissal proceedings against the “erring” employees.

Most of these employees had disappeared from poll rehearsal yesterday without marking their presence. A fresh controversy erupted in the late afternoon today with some union leaders of the employees claiming that at least seven teachers have been arrested by the police for refusing to do poll duty. However, the district administration denied any such action. Police sources also did not confirm any arrest in the matter.

Interestingly, more than 40 per cent of these employees have got themselves admitted to various hospitals on one pretext or the other. Suddenly, diseases of all sorts have struck the employees. According to applications, requesting cancellation of duty, received by the administration, most of the employees claim to be suffering from heart disease or other diseases.

Ludhiana has become the first district in the state where the administration has cracked the whip on the ‘‘erring’’ employees for refusing to discharge their official duties. Talking to TNS today, the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Anurag Aggarwal, said he was issuing show-cause notices to at least 200 such employees directing them to explain why action should not be taken against them for refusing to perform their duties.

Mr Aggarwal further said that he would be dealing with such employees strictly. He said these people could even be dismissed from service as it was a serious offence.

Mr Piara Singh Dhillon and Mr Baldev Krishan Moudgil, office-bearers of the Government Primary Teachers Association, claimed that they would fight the decision of the administration tooth and nail as the Deputy Commissioner had forced the poll duty on them while the government had asked him to assign only those employees to the job who volunteered. They claimed that the administration had even got them arrested and forced other teachers to sign the duty chart.

Officials, however, denied their claims and said the employees would be dealt with strictly. They said it was unfortunate that the employees were letting the nation down at a time when their services were required the most. They said they would also face action for instigating others to not do their jobs.

The Punjab Government had given an option to its employees and offered them Rs 5,000 for performing poll duty in Jammu and Kashmir. Besides, each employee opting for such duty would have an insurance cover of Rs 25,000 for injury and Rs 5 lakh in case of death. Interestingly, none of the employees volunteered for the job saying it was too risky to go and perform polling duty in Jammu and Kashmir.Back

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