CHANDIGARH: In a bid to maintain essential public services and ensure efficient relief operations during ongoing flood situations, the Punjab government has enforced the Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA) until October 31, 2023. The decision comes in response to an upcoming three-day strike by various government office employees, scheduled for September 11 to 13, and aims to deter any disruption caused by employee strikes.
The Chief Minister of Punjab, Bhagwant Mann, has expressed grave concern over the planned pen-down strike by employees from various government offices, including the offices of Patwari, Kanungo, and Deputy Commissioner. In response, Chief Minister Mann has authorized the imposition of ESMA on the employees participating in the strike. Under the terms of the ESMA, any government employee who participates in the strike will face immediate suspension, along with the initiation of criminal proceedings and suspension of their services.
As per the official announcement, the ESMA will remain in effect until October 31, 2023. Those found in violation of the ESMA orders will face strict legal consequences, thereby aiming to discourage any potential non-compliance.
The issuance of the ESMA orders has implications for various departments, primarily the revenue department, which includes officials such as Patwari, Kanungo, and Circle Revenue Officers. These officials are currently engaged in crucial flood relief operations across the state due to heavy rains causing flooding in multiple areas. The floodgates have been opened continuously to manage the water accumulation, and extensive relief work is ongoing.
K.A.P. Sinha, the Special Chief Secretary of the Revenue Department, has issued a communication stating that given the urgency of the ongoing flood relief operations, leave for officers and employees cannot be granted at this time. The services of officials from the revenue department, including Patwari, Kanungo, and Circle Revenue Officers, are deemed essential for the effective execution of relief efforts, and their presence is vital to managing the crisis.