DC asks teachers to monitor distilleries; revokes order later - ECAS Punjab

DC asks teachers to monitor distilleries; revokes order later

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Ravi Dhaliwal

Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, May 21

After teachers' unions raised a hue and cry over Deputy Commissioner Mohammad Ishfaq's order on posting teachers at four private distilleries of the district, he revoked the direction within 24 hours of issuing it.

'Smacked of distrust in excise dept'

Senior SAD leader Daljit Singh Cheema said the matter spoke volumes of the distrust of the administration in the Excise Department. He said, "It is also an admission of guilt that large-scale smuggling of liquor is taking place from the distilleries." He condemned the government move to use teachers, who were engaged in a noble profession, on duty of monitoring distilleries and demanded action against officials responsible for this lapse.

As per the DC's controversial order, teachers were given the powers of executive magistrates and asked to keep a check on liquor smuggling at the four distilleries in Batala. They were also asked to submit reports to the Batala SDM daily.

The distilleries are owned by Delhi-based liquor baroness Jasdeep Kaur Chadha, sister-in-law of late Ponty Chadha.

The order also stated that in case of non-compliance or negligence, teachers would be proceeded against under Section 188 (disobeying government orders) of the IPC.

Assistant Commissioner (General) Raman Kochar signed the order on behalf of the DC.

Democratic Teachers Front (DTF) state president Davinder Singh Punia termed the order "draconian".

"Teachers are already burdened. They have to take online classes, supervise mid-day meal and distribute books. Earlier, they were asked to screen migrant labourers at bus stops and railway stations without proper safety gears. Amid this, the administration asked teachers to keep a check on liquor smuggling. That was uncalled for," he said.

Akali Dal spokesperson Daljit Singh Cheema criticised the DC for his decision. "I was taken aback at the audacity of the Gurdaspur administration to ask teachers to count liquor bottles and report to the Batala SDM," he said.

Sources claim the order was issued after it came to light that there was some problem with revenue generation in the distilleries.

When contacted, the DC said it was a technical mistake. "We had decided to pull out employees of several departments and deploy them at the distilleries. Because of a clerical mistake, an impression went out that only employees of the Education Department would be assigned duties. It was a mistake, which has been rectified. I have informed representatives of teachers about it," he said.



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