6 officials indicted, promotions withheld

The Punjab government has withheld the promotions of three assistant town planners, two building inspectors and a municipal town planner after an inquiry indicted them for the death of four labourers who had been digging a basement at a private plot in Jalandhar in 2007.

The labourers were buried alive as the earth caved in. Following the incident, an inquiry conducted by then Joint Commissioner, Municipal Corporation, Rahul Gupta, indicted nine people. Later, another inquiry done by IAS officer AS Gulati found the assistant town planner, Jalandhar, Raj Kumar (currently posted as municipal town planner Ludhiana), assistant town planners (ATPs) Ramesh Chabra, Dharm Pal and Mohan Lal and building inspectors Balwinder Singh and Rohit Sahota prima facie guilty for the death of the labourers.

The report submitted with the Punjab government says that promotion of all the six officers will be withheld for three years as a mark of punishment. In addition to this, the officers remained suspended from October 1, 2007 to May, 2008 following the incident and will not be given any arrears or benefits for this period.

The orders had been sent to municipal corporation commissioners in Jalandhar and Ludhiana. It may be mentioned that the basement of the plot was being dug without seeking permission from the building department.

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