About 1400 Incharge ZEOs, Principals waiting for regularisation since 13 years

Some of them died waiting for Govt order

Avtar Bhat
JAMMU, June 20: With authorities at the helm of affairs in the Civil Secretariat sleeping over their files, about 1400 serving and retired Incharge Zonal Education Officers (ZEOs) and Principals from ZEOs cadre are running from pillar to post for their regularization for the last 13 years.
The fate of these Zonal Education Officers is totally uncertain among whom many have even passed away waiting in the hope of their regularization but their dream has been totally shattered as the authorities showed no interest in taking up their files for disposal and they could not get justice in their life time.
What has irked these hapless people among whom about 90 percent ZEOs have attained the age of superannuation over the years that the Government recently issued the orders of regularisation of the Plus Two lecturers but ignored the Incharge ZEOs waiting for justice over a decade now. This has exposed the authorities for their discriminatory way of functioning by giving justice to one section of serving and retired employees while ignoring the other for no fault of theirs.
According to sources, the Incharge ZEOs have been awaiting their regularisation since April 1, 2008. Among them 90 percent of the officers have since retired while a sizable number of them have expired over the years also without reaping the benefits of regularization.
Sources said that the Administrative Department of School Education in Civil Secretariat initiated the process of regularization of ZEOs a number of times i.e. in 2017 and 2018 but failed to take it to logical conclusion due to its unknown reasons. Though all formalities were completed in this regard and Vigilance report was also sought but Departmental Promotion Committees (DPCs) were never conducted for regularization.
Sources said recently the Administrative Department restarted the process of regularization of all Gazetted cadres including ZEOs. Their Annual Progressive Reports (APRs), integrity certificates, posting charts, etc were again collected afresh from all ZEOs working and retired amid pandemic but nothing substantial materialized till date, sources added.
Sources said all the Incharge ZEOs had to go through this cumbersome process third time and they submitted documents through proper channel. All the files were then forwarded to Administrative Department (HRM Section) along with lists in hard and soft copies.
Sources said a delegation of School Education Officers (ZEOs cadre) led by Kuldeep Singh Langeh met Lt Governor Manoj Sinha on January 17 this year here at Jammu and put forth the demand of their regularization before him. Though the LG assured early redressal of the problem but till date nothing was done, sources added.
Recently again in the month of April hard and soft copies of entire record by Incharge ZEOs in the shape of individual files and computerized lists in hard and soft copy was submitted in HRM Section of School Education Department as was desired by the authorities again but all in vain, sources said, adding this way the hapless ZEOs were made to do unfruitful exercise number of times as their wait to get justice has never ended.
Sources said after the hard exercise of over a decade the files are still pending as no action has been initiated on the part of authorities till date. Not to talk of issuing regularization orders the callousness on the part of the authorities has been so galore that neither the seniority lists have been prepared till date nor any letter has been sent to Vigilance Department for clearance which is mandatory for DPC, sources added.
They said resentment is brewing among the hapless ZEOs who accuse the HRM Section of the SED of personal vendetta against them.
Sources said recently regularization of Incharge Lecturers in some subjects, Incharge CEOs , incharge Joint Directors and Incharge Principals of Plus Two from senior Lecturers cadre was made by the Administrative Department and officers of HRM Section in the Department. It is not known when the Government issued regularization orders of other officers in School Education Department why the case of incharge ZEOs is hanging in balance, sources added.
They said that umpteen rounds were made by the delegations of ZEOs to Civil Secretariat but to no avail as the concerned officers in HRM Section of Administrative Department of Education show total reluctance in putting up the files for disposal the reasons best known to them.
Maintaining that ZEOs are backbone of School Education Department and amid this pandemic, they have been doing a yeomen’s service to the society , sources said it is totally unfortunate that the Government instead of acknowledging their services are discriminating against this hapless cadre.
Showing concern over the delaying tactics adopted by the Government in their regularization, some of the retired ZEOs said that their cadre being smallest among all cadres in School Education Department and in case the Administrative Department does its job sincerely, the regularization of over 600 ZEOs can be done within days. But then Government was unnecessarily passing the days and dodging tactics.
Moreover, some Incharge ZEOs have further been elevated as Incharge Principals and as such they have been discharging their duties as principals and equivalent for last many years and a good number of them have also retired in their own pay and grade i. e in Headmasters grade despite the fact that the worked as Incharge ZEOS and Incharge Principals in far flung areas of the UT, sources said.
They added it is an irony that the 10+2 Principals from senior lecturers cadre were regularized while Incharge principals from ZEOs cadre were ignored and they are still waiting for justice.
Kuldeep Singh Langeh, one of the aggrieved Incharge Principal from ZEOs cadre has also made an appeal to Lt Governor, Manoj Sinha seeking his immediate intervention in the matter and justice to the cadre who are visiting from pillar to post for the last 13 years now.
However, Principal Secretary, School Education Department B K Singh told Excelsior that the ZEOs fall in School Headmasters category and their regularisation issue was pending for a long time but now this is being sorted out and within a week or so the issue will be solved.