Patiala: Started in 1949 as ‘Punjabi Mehakama’ and later rechristened as Punjab Languages Department or (Punjab Bhasha Vibhag) and given work to promote the mother tongue Punjabi, these days the department is itself ailing and failing in delivering results because of acute staff and financial crunch.
Just gauge the things how this department is struggling to run itself in the absence of the funds since over three years as the department has failed to get any book published. The situation is so grim that when books were published by the department earlier with the help of outsourced publishers, it failed in making payments to them and they are running pillar to post to get their payments that went into several lakh. Even as the department has been sanctioned Rs 50 lakh budget annually for the publication of books, yet it has to wait for a long long time to get the grants from the state government.
The department had also been holding state level function to honour poets, writers, intellectuals, journalists etc belonging not only to mother tongue Punjabi but other languages as well on yearly basis but from the last four years it has failed to hold that function because of shortage of funds.
Speaking to Daily Post, Director of the Department Gursharan Kaur, who joined in May, said that the department has been facing acute shortage of funds even though the matter has been taken up with the state government, but still it failed to get the funds released.
Kaur said that the financial position is so acute that even they are not getting their petrol bills cleared for a long time. She said that even she has to dole out funds from her own pocket to run the departmental car in case she has to go to Chandigarh for any high level meeting. She added that so far she has to take back Rs 65, 000 from the department for petrol bill that she has spent her from her pocket.
She said that on the staff front the department is facing acute shortage of the staff as no fresh recruitment has been done in the department since a long time even as the retirements are going on as usual. The director further said that the department is facing the shortage of the research assistants and other clerical cadre as well. She added that the requirements in this connection have been sent to the state government a number of times by the department and it has been learnt that the state government has sent these to Punjab Public Service Commission (PPSC) and Punjab Subordinate Selection Board.
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