Common man must not suffer
Everyone has the right to push for one’s demand. However, holding a strike is not the only way to do so. Because of their designation and role, the presence of PCS officers in the office is necessary to ensure the smooth functioning of their departments. Looking at the inconvenience faced by the common man, the strike seems anti-social, as it only adds to their trouble. The common man must not suffer.
Tehsil Complex in Amritsar wear a deserted look owing to a strike by the PCS officers’ association. – File Photo
Officers must help in checking corruption
The strike by the PCS officers was not justified. I welcome the decision taken by the government. It is the priority of the state government to rid the state of corruption. Rather than holding strikes, the PCS officers should also help in checking the evil of corruption. A huge revolution is needed to help the state grow. If the departments work with harmony, and not discord, it will result in smooth functioning of all sections of the government.
CM’s response has set a good precedent
The swift and studied action by Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann was unprecedented, but achieved the goal. All the striking officers realised that their knee-jerk decision to defend a culprit was stalling administrative work. The principle of ‘No work, no pay’ could have been applied in this case. It seems like CM Mann has learnt how to shun politics. I think that he has set a good precedent. Looking back, a strike or a ‘hartal’ was a legal provision in factories and there was a rigorous procedure for going on a hartal. But over the years, that tool has been misued and overused. However, there are times when it is justified to hold a strike.
Prof Mohan Singh
Officers’ move to hold strike was wrong
The strike by the PCS officers was totally unjustified, as the government was right to take action against some corrupt officials. Corruption can never be weeded out if the government does not act tough. The PCS officers’ decision to hold a strike was wrong and uncalled for. They should not have held a strike as the common man had to bear the brunt of the strike. Had the CM not acted in time and issued a warning to the agitators, they would not have called off the stir.
Should’ve exhausted other means
Over the years, barring some outstanding individual government functionaries, the system has become corrupt. So, in such a system of corrupt governance, no cadre can remain sacrosanct, be it the PCS or the IAS. It is for the prosecuting agency to see if prima facie, a case of criminal culpability is made out or not and the judiciary is there to protect the rights of an individual. The threat of a strike, without first exhausting other means, cannot be justified. The strike by the PCS officers was not justified and thus, it fizzled out after just one serious threat by the government. Both PCS and IAS officers have to work long hours. The PCS officers cannot make up for their absence at work by just working on the weekend.
Officers must act responsibly
PCS officers going on mass leave to protest against the arrest of a colleague who was apprehended by the Vigilance Bureau in connection with a corruption case is not justified. The PCS officers’ strike defending the corrupt colleague, suggests that they are behind him. Not only that, it also indicates that they are okay with the practice of corruption. Do these protesting PCS officers realise how much inconvenience was caused to people who had showed up at their district headquarters for some work? It is shocking that even clerical staff members across the Deputy Commissioner’s offices and revenue officers had gone on a five-day mass casual leave in support of the PCS officers. If there was a dispute between the government and the PCS officers, why should the common man pay the price? If just one PCS officer has been arrested for corruption, how can the entire staff be allowed to go on leave? We must let the law take its course. The common man must not be harassed. PCS officers are meant to serve the people. They must behave like responsible officers. The ultimatum issued by CM Bhagwant Mann seems to have prompted the protesting PCS officers to resume their duties.
Dr SK Singh
Common man should not be inconvenienced
The common man had to face a lot of inconvenience because of the strike. When the state government took into account the problems public faced, the government got them to return to the office and resume their duties. It seems that some unions weaponise strikes or dharnas to pressurise the government into fulfilling their demands. Some unions are right to fight for public causes. For example, the farmer unions which are always quick to take a stand on agricultural issues. In another case, some unions went on a strike to have a wine factory in Zira shut down. But going on a strike over minor issues sets a dangerous precedent. Union members must think before going on a strike. The protesters should hold talks with the state government in order to resolve the issue. The government should also try and encourage their employees and such unions to adopt a peaceful way of protest.
Such action uncalled for from officers
The recent statewide strike by PCS officers was uncalled for. The job of PCS officers is public-oriented, and due to a high-level of illiteracy in our country, people need their help in resolving their problems. Moreover, many are not aware of public policies and laws. In such a situation, Punjab needs dedicated PCS officers who should work consistently. Moreover, the rank of a PCS officer is highly respectable and hence people don’t expect strikes from them. Yes, there are already dedicated PCS officers who in addition to their office work, also talk directly at people’s forums. In case of any genuine problem of such officers, they already have their unions that should work in tandem with the government on a regular basis and resolve all pending issues through a dialogue with the government.
Harvinder Singh Chugh
Mann’s order shows officers were wrong
If a PCS officer in Ludhiana was caught by the Vigilance Bureau on a charge of corruption, why did the others go on strike? The Vigilance Bureau has a right to arrest any officer. Vigilance sleuths must have got some reliable information about the officer concerned so they apprehended him. Even if for a moment we assume the arrest was unjustified, how can we justify the response of senior officers, who put people at large at inconvenience? Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann’s warning to them only indicates that they were wrong in taking the decision to strike work. All such strikes by officials and staff of any department only trouble the general public. Even recently ambulance drivers were on strike, which caused inconvenience to patients as many of them couldn’t get timely medical aid. Democracy allows strikes but pressure tactics to hold the state to ransom.
Dr JS Wadhwa
Solve all problems through talks only
More than 30,000 civil servants, including those working in the Revenue and Customs Department, went on a strike over certain issues pertaining to — salary, pension and job security. According to them, hard workings members of their fraternity are fed up and angry at the way in which they are being treated by the government. They alleged that the government was taking them for granted. They went on a mass leave to protest the arrest of a fellow official. It is a very strange behaviour by them to protect an alleged corrupt colleague using arm-twisting tactics and pressuring the government not to take any action. But this time the government took a firm stand and did not budge. The CM issued a warning to call off their strike and resume their duties. It is a big move against corruption. The strike should be the last option because in the end it is the common man who suffers. Problems should be solved through dialogue.
Officers have no right to inconvenience public
In a democratic set-up every citizen has the right to protest. But the protest should be symbolic rather than a source of inconvenience to the public. During the agitation against the farm law Acts, farmers blocked the roads and rail tracks, and the sufferer was the common man. Similarly, PCS officers in Punjab had some grievances against the government, and they recently went on a mass leave. Due to the strike, the work of the general public was delayed. If the PCS officers had grievances, they would have taken up the matter with the competent authorities, which would have taken the issue seriously and found an amicable solution. Viewing the inconvenience faced by the general public, Chief Minister Bhagwant Singh Mann had to issue an order warning the PCS officers of strict action. Following which, the PCS officers resumed their duty. The PCS Officers in order to clear their backlog even worked on Saturday and Sunday. The strike by the Class-I officers create inconvenience to the general public. It will auger well if the government employees working in various departments before proceeding on mass leave/strike should raise their issues with competent authorities so that an amicable solution could be found without putting the common man at inconvenience.
Rajat Kumar Mohindru
Image of PCS officers has taken a hit
There are great expectations from the officials engaged in public service. However, it is strange that senior public servants of the Punjab Civil Services recently preferred to go on mass casual leave in support of ‘tainted officers’ arrested by the State Vigilance Bureau. In utter disregard of public convenience, many others joined their agitation, creating chaos on roads and offices by recurring blockades and protests. When delinquent officers did not relent to fair probe assurances, the Chief Minister had to issue strict orders that aired out a message for all to realise that the duty and obligations came first while claiming rights and other liberties. In a democratic set-up, administrative officers are regarded as honoured public servants. They are expected to discharge duties honestly and efficiently in accordance with the rules and policies so that people get fair and impartial services without disruption of any sorts. IAS and PCS officers are held in high esteem owing to coveted position and bureaucratic powers vested with them, but this illogical stir shielding a colleague involved in graft charges has severely dented their prestige!
Nirmaljit Singh Chatrath
Protest contrary to Officers’ oath to work
Apparently, the strike by PCS officers was not justified as their foremost duty is to serve the citizens, and such moves become an epitome of abdication on their part and are contrary to their work commitments or decorum! The repercussion — working weekend resulted in a more tedious, hectic, uphill work schedule for them, besides hampering the smooth functioning of their respective departments and timely completion of requisite assignments and a delay in gratification of public needs.
Teachers of aided colleges are up in arms against a recent notification of the state government that reduces their retirement age from 60 to 58. This has come at a time when college teachers have long been demanding to increase their retirement age to 65, as per the UGC norms. What should be the ideal age for college teachers to retire?
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