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Staff crunch hits Armed Forces Flag Day events across Punjab

24 out of 25 posts of Deputy Director (Sainik Welfare) lying vacant

Staff crunch hits Armed Forces Flag Day events across Punjab

The neglected fountain area in the Punjab State War Memorial maintained by the Sainik Welfare Department in Jalandhar, usually the venue for Armed Forces Flag Day. Photo:Malkiat Singh



Tribune News Service

Deepkamal Kaur

Jalandhar, December 7

Armed Forces Flag Day was not observed today with the usual ritual in various districts of Punjab by the respective District Sainik Welfare Departments. The reason: As many as 24 out of 25 posts of Deputy Director Sainik Welfare have been lying vacant for the past few years. There are 23 posts (one for each district) besides two for the headquarters.

As no fresh appointment has been made since 2017 and the tenure of officers on 24 posts got over, now there remains a lone Deputy Director Sainik Welfare in Fatehgarh Sahib — Commander BS Virk (retd). He is practically handling the work of the department in entire Punjab.

In Jalandhar, where the Sainik Welfare Department conducts the event at Punjab State War Memorial by inviting the Deputy Commissioner and Commander Vajra Corps who honour Veer Naris and families of martyrs from the defence forces, the event today was confined to just a garlanding ceremony at the memorial site. No show was organised — otherwise held every year on this day — by NCC cadets, school and college students and staff.

The staff of the local Sainik Welfare Department said that since their office is headless, the event could not be conducted. “We approached the local administration for assistance but since even the staff at the DC office is on pen-down strike, they could not take the initiative,” they said.

Due to the vacancies, the work in the District Sainik Welfare Departments is also getting affected. Training of youth for defence and police recruitment, free computer training of wards of martyrs and other vocational courses are no longer being undertaken with the same vigour.

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