Punjab: Atleast 60 IAS officers to be poll observers in 5 states

New Delhi, November 4: Nearly one-third of the Indian Administrative Services (IAS) cadre strength of Punjab posted in various departments of the state government will not be available for duty for the most part of this month and for some days next month after they have been assigned as poll observers in the five states which go to poll between November 12 to December 7.

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Punjab has IAS cadre strength of 180 officers and Election Commission of India has selected nearly 60 officers of Punjab cadre IAS batches between 1990 and 2010 for duties as observers in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Mizoram and Telangana. Though some officers have managed to get their names deleted from the list of observers, government officials say that nearly 50 IAS officers will still be deputed, calling the large number ‘unprecedented’.

Sources said the list of Punjab IAS officers for Election Observer duty initially also included managing directors of procurement agencies Punjab State Civil Supplies Corporation Limited, popularly knows as Punsup, Punjab Grains Procurement Corporation Limited (Pungrain), Punjab State Warehousing Corporation (PSWC), Punjab State Cooperative Supply and Marketing Federation Limited (Markfed) and Punjab Agro Industries Corporation Limited (PAIC). However, in the wake of ongoing paddy procurement season, their names were removed. Other IAS officers will go as observers in their place now.

A government functionary said that it was “unprecedented” that such a large number of IAS officers are going for election duty to other states simultaneously. Secretary Personnel, A S Miglani, when contacted, said, “Yes about 50 IAS officers will go on election duties in other States as observers. They will go at different dates depending upon the election schedule.”

A government functionary said each officer will first go for 20 to 22 days polling duty and then for another four to five days at the time of counting and results.

The functionary said since states like Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh were big states, the IAS officers for the elections were drawn in good numbers from states like Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and others.

Not only IAS officers but a number of Punjab cabinet ministers will also go for campaigning in the poll bound states, along with Congress MLAs and other party leaders.

PPCC president Sunil Jakhar told The Indian Express that while Chief Minister Amarinder Singh and cabinet minister Navjot Singh Sidhu, will go for campaigning, other cabinet ministers will also be active in campaigning.

Source Indian Express