VIJAYAWADA: Even 20 days after the government directed the district collectors to appoint special officers for panchayats as the term of sarpanches and members of most of the gram panchayats was expired by August 1, the officials are finding it difficult to complete the task due to unavailability of large number of officials in the ranks specified by the government.
In the orders, the government directed the district collectors to appoint an officer from the category of tahsildar/mandal Parishad development officer/mandal educational officer extension officer of Panchayat Raj and Rural Development Department or officers of similar or higher rank as special officers for a gram panchayat or a group of gram panchayats, in their jurisdiction with effect from August 2. Those special officers shall take the charge of the office immediately after the expiry of the term of the elected members and sarpanches of the gram panchayats, the order said.
However, the district collectors could not find the required number of officials and appealed to the government to relax the rules and permit them to go ahead with appointing gazetted rank officers as special officers of panchayats. It is learnt that some of the collectors even made an appeal to Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu to allow them to make the appointment of the special officer on cluster mode for covering more panchayats.
As doctors in government hospitals and headmasters of high schools come under gazetted officers category, the officials were in a dilemma whether to appoint them as special officers or not. “If we appoint them as special officers, the absence of their regular services will have an adverse impact on academic and medical services,’’ an official told TNIE.
Stating that they have informed the same to Chief Minister, who responded positively, the official said that the former gave a free of hand to collectors to appoint special officers as per their discretionary powers.
It is also learnt that the Chief Minister even gave nod to the officials to use the services of efficient village secretaries as special officers.