Chandigarh, May 24
The Department of Defence Services Welfare (DSW), Punjab, mandated with managing the affairs of and looking after the welfare of ex-servicemen in the state, is facing a severe manpower crunch because of superannuation of existing staff and delays in fresh appointments.
Against an authorised strength of 24 officers in addition to the Director, the department has only three officers at present to supervise the functioning of DSW establishments in 23 districts of the state, sources said.
There are supposed to be 22 officers posted in the districts, with creation of a new post for the state’s latest district, Malerkotla, under process. In addition two officers — Deputy Director (Headquarters) and Deputy Director (Monitoring) based at the departments’ headquarters in Chandigarh.
According to sources, two officers based at Patiala and Ropar are looking after seven districts each, while the third officer based at Chandigarh is managing the remaining districts along with the portfolios of the two deputy directors. “This has an impact on grievance redressal of ex-servicemen, implementation of schemes, liaison with the local administration and processing documents,” a source said.
The appointment of officers was last done in 2016, when three of them had joined the department. While the Director is a retired officer of the rank of Brigadier and equivalent, the other officers are of the colonel or Lieutenant Colonel and equivalent, who are appointed by the state government after retirement from the armed forces.
Sources said that the case of fresh appointments had been taken up 2020, when the state government had gone in for restructuring all its departments. The authorisation of DSW officers had then been raised from 19 to 24.
However, bureaucratic wrangles, change in rules and accommodating new administrative provisions have held by the appointment process. “The file is at present with the office of the Chief Secretary,” a source said.
The department is at present headed by the incumbent AAP chief minister, Bhagwant Singh Mann. During the previous Congress government in the state, it was headed by the then Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh.
Redress of grievances hit
- Two officers based at Patiala and Ropar are looking after seven districts each
- The third officer based at Chandigarh is managing the remaining
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