Updated: September 17, 2021 9:31:29 pm
TWO MONTHS after facing a backlash over giving government jobs to sons of two MLAs, Punjab government stirred a similar row Friday by getting the Cabinet to clear employment son-in-law of Revenue Minister Gurpreet Singh Kangar on compassionate grounds.
Gursher Singh would be appointed as Excise and Taxation Inspector on compassionate grounds in one-time relaxation without the case being treated as a precedent.
The Cabinet cleared the employment case without any objection by any minister even though the decision of jobs to two sons of MLAs, Rakesh Pandey and Fateh Jung Singh Bajwa was objected to by a few ministers during the Cabinet meeting.
It had become a huge issue last time with the matter reaching the high command with accusations the government was employing its own members’ sons while there were so many employed in the state. Party general secretary incharge Harish Rawat had to then appeal to both the MLAs to give up jobs of sons voluntarily. Bajwa had followed suit, but Pandey is still sticking to his guns. The issue of jobs to the MLAs and minister’s kin was lying pending with the government for a long time but got expedited in the backdrop of rebellion against the Chief Minister.
On Friday, a government statement said that chairing an online meeting of the Cabinet, Chief Minister Amarinder Singh noted that Gursher’s father, Bhupjit Singh, had played a major role in blowing the whistle in the Ravi Sidhu PPSC scam to clean up the Punjab Public Service Commission.
Bhupjit Singh, who was posted as Excise and Taxation Officer in Excise and Taxation department, had died on September 28, 2011. At that time, his son, Gursher Singh, had just completed his graduation in commerce stream. As per the office records, Jasbir Kaur, wife of late Bhupjit Singh, in an application dated June 26, 2020, (8 years after her husband’s death) had requested for employment in favour of her son Gursher Singh, the statement added.
The Department of Excise and Taxation has been sitting on the case file for over a year. But this time it was put up before the Cabinet. After the Cabinet meeting, Kangar called the government’s decision a “correct” one. He said, “If Gursher is married to my daughter then what is his fault? Are others not getting jobs on compassionate grounds? My son-in-law is qualified and fits the bill. Why is media creating such an issue about the decision?”
Cabinet minister Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa, who was among the ministers who had vociferously objected to sons of Bajwa and Pandey getting jobs, said on Friday, “What is the point of creating a noise? We did that earlier and yet the decision was taken.”
PPCC general secretary incharge Pargat Singh called the decision “unfortunate” and said, “Government should not have committed this mistake yet again. They have already drawn flak for employing sons of MLAs,” he said.
The Personnel Department of Punjab government had earlier opposed the move of the government in Gursher’s case. It had stated that Gursher did not deserve a job on compassionate grounds as he owned landed property worth crores. It was later decided to put up the case before the Cabinet.
As per government Policy dated November 21, 2002 and amendment vide letter dated December 28, 2005, the heirs of the deceased employee/officer have to apply for employment within one year from the date of death. The policy also clarifies that if there is a genuine cause for delay, the application of the candidate can be considered up to a delay of 5 years after obtaining special approval from the Personnel Department, citing reasons of the delay in detail.
The government said that Gursher Singh’s qualification is Bachelor of Commerce, which is beneficial for the post of Excise and Taxation Inspector. The Cabinet, the statement said, had decided to make an exception on special grounds.
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