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Truant employees face salary hold-up

Nagaon, Dec. 1: Insincere state government employees in Nagaon district, especially in interior areas, may get their monthly salaries held up, if found neglecting their duties during office hours.

Nagaon deputy commissioner M. Angamuthu launched a special drive to pinpoint negligent officials that mainly targets government offices in remote areas, where officials often do not perform their duties sincerely.

“It is not that their salary would be cut. It would be held up till these insincere officials start working normally,” Angamuthu said.

In the past couple of weeks, employees in several government offices have already fallen into the administration’s trap, for their alleged unauthorised absence from office during working hours.

The list of offices having employees whose pay was held up includes a block elementary education office at Kothiatoli, office of a Kothiatoli-based bull-rearing farm and two offices of child development project officer at Kothiatoli and Barhampur. “We were instructed to hold up pay of all those found absent by administration officials during the latter’s recent visit.

The same is issued in case of the five development blocks also,” said Nani Gopal Barua, Nagaon treasury officer.

The drive started with an administrative team visiting the Juria development block office in the district a month back. The office was found closed on a working day, and consequently, the salaries of errant employees were held up for the month of November.

During the past few days, administration representatives visited four development blocks of the district — Barhampur, Kothiatoli, Raha and Khagorijan. According to administration sources, a list of insincere officials has been forwarded to the district treasury office so that their salaries can be held up till further orders.

“This is just the tip of the iceberg. We are expanding the drive to all government departments in the district. These officials are regularly receiving salary from the government, then why can they not work sincerely? We want commitment, sincerity and punctuality from the officers and office staff. How can we expect development, if our employees are not dedicated,” the administration source said.

Nagaon has 18 development blocks, of which five are in remote areas. Absence of officials in their workplace during working hours is a common phenomenon in most of these offices, which prompts villagers to visit the district headquarters searching for their local block officials.

However, Nagaon DRDA project director Niranjan Borua said his office was not aware of the district administration’s drive,”Officers and subordinate employees are receiving salary regularly and it is their duty to attend office. However, those who have field duty should be treated differently.”

Khagorijan BDO Ranjan Sarma said, “Six of my staffers were absent on the day an ADC-level officer visited our development block. Later, we were officially intimated that their pay was being held up. The six include two junior engineers, three gram sewaks and one extension officer.”

“The salaries of 12 of our office staffers were held up. But all our 26 staff members, including our BDO Sachi Timung, are not taking salary, as a gesture of solidarity,” said a Juria development block source.

“Till October this year, I used to come to office at 11.30am and leave at 2pm. We kept just one office door open, all others remained closed. It was done in such a way that nobody could find us to prove our presence or absence. But those days are gone. Doors are still closed, but we cannot take the risk of leaving office early,” an employee at the Nagaon land register office said.

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