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CHITRAL: Various government departments in Chitral are facing acute shortage of manpower, thus adversely affecting the service delivery.

Sources told Dawn that the communication and works (C&W), public health engineering (PHE) and irrigation departments were short of technical staff, including sub-engineers and assistant engineers.

They said the C&W department was short of nine posts, PHE of eight posts and irrigation of six posts of sub-engineers due to which the development projects were facing inordinate delay.

All the three subdivisions of C&W, two subdivisions each of PHE and irrigation departments are being run with low ranking staff of scale-11 while the post of sub-divisional officer is of BPS-17.

The department of agriculture is also short of three posts of agriculture officers and dozens of posts of field assistants who are indispensable for promotion of agriculture in Chitral where nearly 100 per cent people derive their sustenance from the sector, the sources pointed out.

The sources disclosed that 92 posts of medical officers were lying vacant in different hospitals of the district, adding the hospitals were also facing shortage of paramedical staff.

Confirming the shortage of staff in the healthcare facilities of the district, district health officer Dr Israrullah said, however, that the vacant posts of all tiers would be filled up soon.

Chitral Deputy Commissioner Osama Ahmed Warraich, while confirming the shortage of staff, said the seven sub-tehsils of the district were being run without the naib-tehsildars. He added that three posts of additional assistant commissioners had been lying vacant in Mastuj subdivision, which had been affecting the service delivery.

It is to mention here that Chitral has two subdivisions – Chitral and Mastuj, which are further divided into seven sub-tehsils, and every sub-tehsil is headed by a sub-tehsildar, a grade 14 official. But, these sub-tehsils are being run by senior clerks.

Talking to Dawn, a former tehsildar Haji Aftab, said in the past the sub-tehsils were considered as arteries of the government, and always remained under the watch of the naib-tehsildar. He said whenever the naib-tehsildar went away, even for a day, head of the nearest station was given the additional charge so that running of the affairs was not affected.

He said a naib-tehsildar used to discharge the same functions as did the DC in the district, and acted as a bridge between the government and the people.

The naib tehsildars supervised the other departments in their area as well, including dispensary, schools, food stores, roads and bridges, and their daily situation reports about different departments were given due importance by the DC, said Mr Aftab.

“Due to the close connection of a naib-tehsildar with the people in his area, the issues were solved on time, due to which overall law and order situation remained normal,” he maintained.

Haji Aftab said a naib-tehsildar and the elected representatives of the local bodies complemented each other efficiently.

Published in Dawn, December 5th, 2016