Gangtok: Keeping with its promise of disciplining government officials on punctuality, the office of the chief secretary of Sikkim led by SC Gupta on Friday released a list of names of errant bureaucrats who had reached their respective offices later than 10:30 am on Thursday.

On Thursday, Sikkim chief minister Prem Singh Golay had told government officials to follow the 10.30 am-4.30 pm working hour shifts strictly. The latest order issued Friday mentions the names of 11 bureaucrats holding the ranks of additional secretary to additional chief engineer. The order also states the errant officers will be treated as being on ‘extraordinary leave without pay’ for April 15.

While addressing the media on his visit to STNM Hospital in Gangtok on Saturday, chief minister Golay said, “The public must know that these are the public servants who came late. They are public servants and when we publish their names in such a manner, it will hold as a lesson for them. It is a habit that they have developed but now they will be punished for being late. This is the first punishment and more will follow if it is noted that they are violating the rule again.”

Also read: Sikkim CM PS Golay pulls up ‘babus’: Perform or face action

The CM said the drive was important to ensure that public work is carried out on time.

“The people face a lot of hardships when they come from different corners of the state and do not get to meet the official concerned for their work. They have to stay back in Gangtok for days to get any government work done. Officials must ensure that the common people get to meet them. No officer should take this exercise lightly, as it is for the public good,” the CM said.

The punctuality drive will be carried out by inspecting officers who will be appointed by the chief secretary. The office order issued April 14 mentions that surprise checks will also be carried out.

Meanwhile, residents of Sikkim are divided on the new order. While many feel the punctuality drive is good for public, others question if it was right to publicly release names of errant official and to shame them.

Also read: How this Sikkim ‘journalist’ ensured sarkari babus reach office on time

A government official, requesting anonymity, said, “Some of us have additional work in two different districts. Sometimes, we have to divide the week into two halves between head offices in Gangtok and the districts. So I missed office in the district headquarters, as I was in Gangtok. But without inquiring, they gave me a show-cause notice and asked for a written explanation. It is humiliating to see the names of officers on social media that they were absent.”

Government officials in Sikkim are agitated, and many for good reason.

“If my name shows up in the list tomorrow, I will be agitated. Just because of a few ‘kamchors’, everyone is facing this. Those who work hard will keep working hard, those that are ‘kamchors’ will still not be punctual. People feel happy that government employees are facing this situation, but not all are insincere,” the official said.

While supporting the initiative, Rangpo sub-divisional magistrate Himmat Rai shared on social media, “Officials get complacent or negligent on their work simply because the work has become their routine. They become victims of unjust office politics, they lack enthusiasm, and if one thinks one has undue advantage of proximity with the powers that be. The official loses his credibility and personal goodwill, which will also impact his output for the public. We are answerable to the government but not the media and in turn government is answerable to the mandate of the public. Government has every right to set things right or put the right workforce that can deliver.”

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