Despite numerous directions, several DCs not conducting extensive tours of districts

Govt fixes two days exclusively for resolution of public issues
Notes on field visits to be submitted to GAD quarterly

Mohinder Verma

JAMMU, July 30: Even after numerous directions from the Lieutenant Governor and the Chief Secretary, several Deputy Commissioners of the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir are not conducting extensive tours of their respective districts, which otherwise are imperative to bring administration at the door steps of the people.
Official sources told EXCELSIOR that from time to time Government issued instructions through the General Administration Department to all the Deputy Commissioners of the Union Territory to undertake extensive tours within their districts for on-spot resolution of grievances being faced by the people.
Even the Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha, during interaction with the Deputy Commissioners a number of times, had exhorted them to discharge their duties with utmost sensitivity and responsibility and put in best efforts to mitigate the problems of the people by conducting frequent visits to the districts particularly far-off areas.
Stating that Deputy Commissioners are the face of the administration at the district level, the Lieutenant Governor had also directed them to also hold grievance redressal interaction with people in their respective offices to redress genuine grievances at the earliest.
The present Chief Secretary Dr Arun Kumar Mehta, while chairing a meeting of the Administrative Secretary recently, had emphasized that the Deputy Commissioners are required to frequently tour their districts to ensure governance at the door steps of the people, sources said.
However, there was no strict compliance of these instructions from several Deputy Commissioners of the Union Territory, who prefer to visit only those areas which are close to the district headquarters, and taking serious note of the same the Government has now fixed two exclusive days in a week for field visits by the heads of the districts.
“Instructions have been issued from time to time impressing upon, among others, the Deputy Commissioners to undertake extensive tours within their districts particularly the far flung, remote and difficult areas as besides bringing administration to door steps, such tours help in on-spot resolution of many issues”, read an order issued by the Commissioner Secretary to the Government, General Administration Department Manoj Kumar Dwivedi.
Accordingly, all the Deputy Commissioners have been enjoined upon to ensure implementation of these instructions in true letter and spirit. “The Deputy Commissioners shall ensure undertaking tours/field visits necessarily on every Wednesday and Saturday of a week and interact with the general public for resolution of their issues during these tours”, the GAD Commissioner Secretary said.
All the Deputy Commissioners have been directed to submit copies of their tour notes to the General Administration Department on quarterly basis as this step will help in assessing the performance of the Deputy Commissioners vis-à-vis disposal of public grievances at their door-steps.
Moreover, all the Administrative Secretaries and other senior field functionaries of the administration have been directed that during these two days they shall not ordinarily schedule any meeting/tour involving Deputy Commissioners.
“The field visits by the Deputy Commissioners will go a long way in resolving the grievances of the people particularly of remote and far-off areas as in routine they find it very difficult or cumbersome to visit the office of the Deputy Commissioners to project their issues relating to development of their respective areas”, sources said.
Moreover, the tours by the Deputy Commissioners will give them an opportunity to assess the status of the developmental activities going on in different parts of the districts and accordingly they can pass instructions to the executing agencies. Otherwise, they are only relying on the feed-back being given either by the executing agencies or the officers of the departments concerned. Further, during such visits/tours the Deputy Commissioners will get chance to personally inspect Government offices to ascertain their functioning and punctuality of the employees, which will ultimately lead to good governance, the thrust on which is being repeatedly laid by the Lieutenant Governor and the Chief Secretary.