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Timely redressal of public grievances least priority for PDP-BJP Ministers

Only 37% representations disposed of, fate of remaining hang in balance

*Resentment among masses as focus only on publicity

Mohinder Verma
JAMMU, Feb 2: Establi-shing that public grievances redressal camps are held only with the sole objective of getting publicity in the media, the Ministers of PDP-BJP Coalition Government have failed to dispose of huge number of issues mostly pertaining to basic amenities brought to their notice by the common masses during the past two years. In this way, they have played with the expectations of the people instead of fulfilling the same as per the mandate given in the elections.
During the past two years, a total of 6261 public grievances were brought to the notice of the PDP-BJP Ministers by the common masses either by paying visits to their offices/ residences or during the camps conducted by the Ministers in different parts of the State especially in their respective constituencies.
Huge publicity is being given to such camps either by the official media or by Public Relation Officers (PROs) of the Ministers but the fact is that grievances being brought to their notices largely remain un-disposed of for quite long time thereby creating resentment among the common masses besides rendering the holding of public grievances redressal camps as a futile exercise.
This came to the fore from the written reply of Minister Incharge General Administration Department to the question of BJP MLA from Ramnagar, Ranbir Singh Pathania given in the Assembly yesterday.
Against 6261 public grievances brought to the notice of the Ministers during past two years only 2298 (37%) have been disposed of although it is claimed that grievances as and when received are forwarded to the concerned quarters for redressal in a time bound manner. If there is a mechanism of ensuring redressal of grievances in coordination with Nodal Officers appointed by the departments then why such a large number of grievances remained pending for disposal has not been reflected in the reply.
Even attempts have also been made to conceal information as far as possible so that failure of the Ministers doesn’t come to the public domain. This can be gauged from the document which states that a total of 6261 complaints were received out of which 2298 were disposed of but in the column of pending grievances the number has been reflected as 85, which is not possible beyond any imagination. Moreover, the document is completely silent about action initiated against the officers for not redressing the public grievances forwarded to them.
All this clearly establishes that mechanism of holding public grievances redressal camps is only a farce and is aimed at befooling the masses. Even, as per the official sources, the Ministers don’t ascertain the status of grievances after their referral to the concerned authorities either personally or through their personal sections in their respective offices in the Civil Secretariat.
As per the figures, maximum number of grievances were pertaining to the Irrigation and Flood Control Department (1203) followed by Education Department (767). The third largest grievances were pertaining to Housing and Urban Development Department (728) followed by Animal Husbandry Depart-ment (638) and Home Department (541).
More than 100 public grievances were pertaining to Transport Department (321), Social Welfare Department (207), Rural Development Department (264), Public Works Department (482), Power Development Department (152), Labour and Employment Department (356), Industries and Commerce Department (107) and Finance Department (116).
About the steps taken or proposed to be taken to make grievance redressal mechanism more effective, the Government, in the reply, has not mentioned anything about ensuring timely redressal of grievances being brought to the notice of the Ministers. Instead, it has been stated that Chief Minister’s Grievance Cell has been made functional where any person can register grievance. This conveys that submitting grievances to the Ministers doesn’t carry any importance.
Though the Government has claimed that all the Administrative Secretaries are holding regular meetings to review the disposal of the complaints/issues as are sent by the CM’s Grievance Cell yet what mechanism is being evolved to ensure timely disposal of grievances brought to the notice of Ministers has not been mentioned in the reply.
As far as delay in the implementation of File Tracking System in all the departments, the Government said that the original project of the File Monitoring System, which was initiated by the Information Technology Department could not yield the desired results and in order to have an efficient office file management system in place, the Web based File Tracking System (WFTS) was identified and implemented by the IT Department through J&K e-Governance Agency.
“The employees are getting familiar and acquainted with this system and the process is gaining momentum”, the Government said, adding “it has been decided that File Tracking System shall begin with the departments of Home, General Administration, Planning and Chief Minister’s Secretariat and thereafter in the other departments”.
If there is an elaborate mechanism for timely disposal of complaints/grievances being registered with the CM’s Grievance Cell then what is the harm in coming up with a system for timely disposal of grievances being brought to the notice of Ministers remains a million dollar question.

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