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Public Grievances department’s Grievance redressal Cell Operating at snail’s pace

* The number of pending cases as on July 1, 2018 is 12, 649
* 11, 813 of them lying uncared for more than 30 days

STAFF REPORTER

GUWAHATI, July 15: The snail’s pace at which public grievances are being redressed leaves much to be desired. The lukewarm response of the government departments has failed to make the required impact. This brings into focus the tall talks on accountability and transparency.

If one has to lodge a complaint against any department one needs to file the written complaint with the Public Grievances department that is attached to the Pension department in the Janata Bhawan of the Assam Secretariat. This is supposed to be the one-stop window for redressal of grievances, both for the commoner as well as any public servant. The procedure followed is that the Public Grievances department then forwards the complaints to the departments concerned obviously for their speedy redressal.

The pending cases as on first week of July are 12, 649 with 11, 813 of them lying uncared for more than 30 days.

As per the latest report, the Home and Political department has the maximum number of cases (1881) pending. Of them, 1776 cases have been lying with it for more than 30 days.

The department-wise picture of such pending cases (above 100) are as follows: PWD-Roads (1169); Health & Family Welfare (1000); Higher Education (942); Revenue & Disaster Management (810); Elementary Education (743); Secondary Education (544); Transport (540); Panchayat & Rural Development (539); Guwahati Development (455); Power (389); GAD (321); Urban Development (320); Forest & Environment (245); Judicial (224); Welfare of Plain Tribes & Backward Classes (185); Industries & Commerce (177); PWD-Building & NH (149); Irrigation (121); Election (115); Agriculture (113); CM’s Secretariat (101); Food & Civil Supplies & Consumers Affairs (101).

Hence, the hard reality is that not only the Public Grievances department but also many of the other departments have simply failed to speed up redressal of grievances. The reason is not far to seek: The earlier state governments hardly initiated any measure to streamline the system. As a result, the number of complaints has been accumulating some even for more than 30 days!

This sorry state of affairs also exposes the lack of accountability on the part of the departments. There does not appear to be anyone at the helm of affairs to make the files move.

Against this backdrop, it appears that the very purpose of the Public Grievances department is belied. It is of utmost importance that the Sonowal government set things right in this sector for better administration and to take governance closer to the public address their complaints at the earliest.

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Sentinel Group