RTI activists have filed a complaint to Punjab’s Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) V K Singh alleging that the work at the village level has been suffering due to “irrational appointments” of the “panchayat secretaries” in various districts of the state.
In their complaint, RTI activist Parwinder Singh Kitna and Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) member Jaskeerat Singh have alleged that Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal has been misusing his powers by appointing surplus panchayat secretaries (PSs) in his home district of Mukatsar while there is an acute shortage in other districts of state. Bathinda, the constituency of Badal’s daughter-in-law and MP Harsimrat Kaur Badal, too have surplus number of PSs, they have alleged while demanding rationalisation of these posts.
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The main work these secretaries do is to assist village panchayats in development projects. Citing RTI information, the complaint says there are 16 posts of panchayat secretaries in Aur block of Nawna Shahr, but 14 of these have been lying vacant and around 74 villages are being looked after by just two secretaries.
The information procured from state’s rural development and panchayat department recently reveals that out of the 2,381 sanctioned posts of panchayat secretaries in the state, around 700 have been lying vacant while around 100 are ‘surplus’, mostly in Mukatsar and adjoining districts of Malwa region from where the CM hails.