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Punjab

Posted at: Oct 11, 2018, 1:26 AM; last updated: Oct 11, 2018, 1:26 AM (IST)

Set up months ago, mining dept lacks staff

Only 25 officials deputed

  • Of 500 sanctioned posts, only 25 officials have been deputed.
  • Information gathered by The Tribune reveals that other than four officers, one superintendent and four assistants, the department hardly has any staff at the head office.
Set up months ago, mining dept lacks staff

Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, October 10

The state government had set up a separate Department of Mines and Geology with much fanfare in April. But even after seven months, the government has failed to depute sufficient staff in the department. Out of 500 sanctioned posts, only 25 officials have been deputed.

The idea behind carving out a separate unit from the Industries Department was to ensure better regulation of minor minerals being extracted from riverbeds and quarries.

Information gathered by The Tribune reveals that other than four officers, one superintendent and four assistants, the department has hardly any staff at the head office here. Though 500 officials, including officers from the lining and drainage wing of the Irrigation Department, were deputed here, some of them got a stay from the court against their transfer. But none of these officers is a mining engineer.

Punjab has been divided into six divisions — each having an executive engineer, sub-divisional officer and four junior engineers, but no ministerial staff has been allotted to them too.

Sources told The Tribune that only two superintendent engineers, three SDOs and a few junior engineers have joined the department. Even these officers have not got salary since June when they were shifted to the new department. “This is because there is no administration branch set up at the secretariat or department level. Every time we complain about the staff not being deputed, we are given assurances of things being sorted out, but nothing seems to be moving,” said a department officer requesting anonymity.

Considering that mining activity in the state had resumed after monsoon, the least the state government can do is to ensure adequate staff so that illegal mining at 56 auctioned mining sites and other places can be tackled effectively.

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