The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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909 axed in graft drive

Chandigarh, Dec. 12: Continuing with its drive against corruption in the administration, the Punjab government has terminated the services of 909 panchayat secretaries appointed from 1996 to March 2000.

A senior government official said the decision follows a comprehensive inquiry conducted by the financial commissioner, rural development, and panchayats on the directives to the state chief secretary by Punjab and Haryana High Court.

The probe had found irregularities during the selection process. The official revealed that apart from appointing 909 candidates against 700 vacancies, records of the applications were not maintained properly.

“Non-availability of details like name, parentage and address in respect of a large number of candidates, selection of individuals whose names did not even figure in the interview list, selection of a number of underage and overage candidates, instances of candidates with lower marks in the written test being called for the interview while others with higher marks were ignored, clear discrimination against meritorious reserved category candidates and post-dated entry of marks to benefit favoured candidates, have been detected in the probe,” the official said.

The government will initiate a fresh selection procedure. To ensure fair and transparent selections, both written tests and interviews would be conducted on a single day by the respective zila parishads under the direct supervision of the deputy commissioners in all districts, he said.

The order clarified that if eligible, people whose services have been terminated could also take tests. All the candidates who had earlier applied would also be eligible. All candidates would be given due age relaxation in case they had become overage. All successful candidates, from among the 909 as well as 470 (whose services were terminated in 2001 on the directives of the high court) would be granted the full benefit of seniority from the date of their first joining service, it said.

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