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Punjab chief secretary sets up media monitoring cell

Kamran Afzal says direct access to public will contribute to effective public service delivery

After actively monitoring and directing to resolve complaints on Twitter, Punjab Chief Secretary Kamran Ali Afzal has also set up a media monitoring cell at his office. The cell will receive, review and redress public grievances.

“This direct access to the public will contribute significantly to effective public service delivery and governance in Punjab,” CS Afzal tweeted.

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Earlier, there was a complaints cell at the CS office that received and redressed issues that reached the CS office.

After the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf government took over in Islamabad and Lahore, a prime minister’s portal was established to redress complaints. Many people who were IT-savvy started approaching this portal for redressal of complaints. Several complainants were satisfied, while others maintained that their issues were not resolved.

Punjab Ombudsman Major (retd) Azam Suleman also established a media monitoring cell to extend justice to those whose issues were highlighted in newspapers. The ombudsman’s office also set up a helpline to register complaints about maladministration.

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The Punjab ombudsman may be approached through email, regular mail, phone or a personal visit against any maladministration in any office or agency of the government of Punjab. The citizens may also file feedback.

Following the footsteps of the Punjab ombudsman’s office, the CS should also establish a helpline at his office. Since there is little access of a common man to the media, there is a need to establish an app like that of the PM Portal to receive complaints. Moreover, the CS may also empower the district monitoring officers (DMOs) to report his office if any office bearer showed delinquency.

As there is a political gap in the province, the importance of the CS office has multiplied.

The CS should go for paperless IT-based solutions in the Civil Secretariat. The Punjab Information Technology Board (PITB) should have by now introduced e-governance in the entire province. Astonishingly, the Civil Secretariat has been using the age-old colonial filing system.

Moreover, as an officer said on anonymity that this model of centralized complaints receiving and redressal cell would be counter-productive. The CS who is also an appellant authority should only play the role of a chief supervisor, he suggested.

He said that if the ACs, DCs or commissioners failed to redress the issues then the complainants should knock at his office door. The CS should not issue direct orders to resolve any issue; rather seek a reply from the field formations. Moreover, the need is to monitor the field officers who usually don’t respond to the complaints properly.

Moreover, the CS should have a dashboard at his office that reflected the status of complaints registered at the department, district or tehsil levels. This would also help monitor and gauge the performance of the field officers and the administrative secretaries.

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