The number of panchayat secretaries is more than double the sanctioned posts in three blocks of Muktsar and Bathinda districts, but is less than the required strength in other blocks and districts, information procured under RTI Act has revealed. 

Using the RTI information, two activists have written to the Punjab chief electoral officer (CEO) for rationalization of postings of panchayat secretaries across Punjab. 

The information procured by RTI activist Parvinder Singh Kitna has revealed that in Malout block in Muktsar, 29 panchayat secretaries were posted against 11 sanctioned posts, while 18 were posted against the nine sanctioned posts in Gidderbaha. Kitna said the information also revealed that all panchayat secretaries in Muktsar were natives of the same district. 

In Sangat block of Bathinda, 18 panchayat secretaries are posted against the sanctioned strength of eight while in Rampur and Talwandi Sabo blocks all posts are filled and there are no extra secretaries or vacant posts. 

Information received from other districts revealed that at some places, strength of panchayat secretaries was not even half of the sanctioned posts. In Aur block of Nawanshahr, there are only two panchayat secretaries against the sanctioned strength of 14, in Balachaur only six against 20 posts and in Nawanshahr only eight are posted while 11 posts are vacant. 

In Garhshankar block of Hoshiarpur, only five panchayat secretaries are there against the sanctioned strength of 28. In Ludhiana and Ferozepur districts also, there are less panchayat secretaries than the sanctioned strength. 

In their representation to the Punjab CEO, Association for Democratic Reforms member Jaskirat Singh and Kitna said the information was received from limited blocks in 10 districts. 

"In some places, one panchayat secretary has to look after around 25-30 panchayats while at others like in Malout and Gidarbaha they would have little for them when their strength outnumbers the sanctioned posts," they argued. 

Kitna said they were awaiting information from more blocks from across Punjab. 

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