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CHITRAL: The district heads of various provincial government departments in Chitral frequently visit Peshawar to attend official meetings and remain away from the district for almost a week every month adversely affecting the routine work, sources said.

Official sources told Dawn that the heads of departments left for the provincial capital every month making the meeting in the secretariat or directorate an excuse while their attendance was not necessary at all.

They said that usually the officers left the station two days ahead of the scheduled date of meeting and returned the next week as most of them were non-locals and they also used the opportunity for visiting their respective towns.

Some officers reportedly remain absent from their offices especially in winter for over two months, the sources said. As such, work at the government offices come to a standstill, they said, claiming that some officers also used the official vehicles in Peshawar as well.

They said that the people coming to the district headquarters from villages for getting their issues resolved were told to come again when the department head would be available.

‘Official meeting in Peshawar’ most frequent excuse

An official said that in the presence of internet, fax and phone facilities, an officer was not required at all to be personally present in the meeting as the required information could be transmitted by any officer while sitting in his own office. He said that the meetings could be held through a video link, which would also ensure the presence of department heads at their respective stations.

The sources alleged that the heads of departments of irrigation, public health engineering, C&W, agriculture, livestock, food, fisheries, forest, wildlife, education and health had been frequently visiting Peshawar for ‘official work’.

When contacted for his version, Chitral deputy commissioner Osama Ahmed Warraich admitted the prevalence of the practice. He, however, said that the matter would be streamlined in due course of time and the officers would be bound not to leave Chitral without a valid justification. He also favoured the idea of holding meetings via video link.

Published in Dawn, December 30th, 2015