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     December 30,  2015



Head of the departments remain absent from offices due to attend meetings 

By Zahiruddin

CHITRAL: The district heads of various provincial government departments in Chitral district frequently visit the provincial headquarters Peshawar to attend official meetings and remained absent from the district for almost a week adversely affecting the routine work.

Requesting not to be named, a number of official sources told Chitral Times  that the heads of departments left for Peshawar every month making the meeting in the secretariat or directorate merely an excuse while their attendance there was not necessary at all.

They said that the officers left the station two days earlier than the scheduled date of meeting and returned the next week as most of them are non-local and visited their respective villages while the practice is also an uncalled for expenses as they claimed travelling allowances.

The stay of some officers in Peshawar extends even to months especially in the winter season and many officers reportedly remained absent from the offices for more than two months, they said and added that no change has been observed in the routine despite the claims of the government.

The absence of the officers from the station brings the efficiency and discipline of government offices to lowest ebb which occurs during the winter seasons when the non-local officers remained away from the district for two to three months continuously, he said adding that some officers use the official vehicles in Peshawar as well.

He said that the people coming to the district headquarters from distant villages return in high despair when the department head is absent and he is told to visit again.

An official said that in the present age of modern facilities of internet, fax and telephone, an officer was not required at all to be personally present on the venue of meeting as the required information can be transmitted and one can answer the queries sitting in his own office.

“The meetings can be held through video link which will save both time and money of the government and the efficiency will be improved due to the presence of department heads”, he said.

The departments of irrigation, public health engineering, C&W, agriculture, livestock, food, fisheries, forest, wildlife, education and health are the devolved and non-devolved departments whose heads of office in the district absented themselves from the station.

When Chitral DC Osama Ahmed Warraich was contacted to know his version, he admitted the prevalence of the practice by the officers and said that taking a stern cognizance of the issue, the higher authorities have made mandatory on every district head of office to seek permission from the DC before leaving for Peshawar.

He said that the matter will be streamlined in due course of time and the officers will be made to remain in Chitral and do not dare to leave it without fair justification of his attending the meeting.

He favoured the idea of meetings via video link and said that this was quite possible while it was already in vogue in some other province and this modern technology is specifically fit for the district which was separated from the other parts of the country by Lowari Pass.



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