Staff shortage hits service delivery in Rautahat officesAround 30 percent of posts in the government offices of the district are vacant, according to the District Administration Office.
A shortage of employees has hit almost all major government offices in Rautahat district, including hospitals, land revenue, irrigation, drinking water, road, prison and area administration offices to even the District Administration Office.
According to Chief District Officer Krishna Bahadur Shahi, around 30 percent of posts in government offices have remained vacant for a while now.
“Even at the District Administration Office, the posts of one assistant chief district officer, one administrative officer, four non-gazetted first-class officers and two non-gazetted second class officers are currently vacant,” said Shahi.
“None of the government offices in Rautahat have employees as per the allocated posts. The employees transferred to Rautahat refuse their postings,” he said. According to him, 15 of the total 18 local units in Rautahat do not have under-secretaries at present.
Most government offices, including public health institutions, have been unable to cater to service seekers who come every day for various purposes.
On Monday, Sukadev Sah, a resident of Yamunamai Rural Municipality-4, was among the many who had come to the district land revenue office. He spent the entire day waiting at the office to get his work done.
“It took me the whole day to register land at the district land revenue office. There was only a limited number of staff at the office and we had to spend hours waiting for our turn,” said Sah. “Registering land usually takes only about one hour when the office has staff. But now, the shortage of staff means we have to spend all day waiting for our turns.”
Ram Krishna Uprety, chief at the district land revenue office, admitted to the service delay at his office owing to the shortage of employees. According to him, three posts of section officers and five posts of non-gazetted first-class officers are currently vacant at the office.
At Gaur Hospital, ventilator and Intensive Care Unit services have been put on hold for the past year due to the lack of skilled human resources.
“The hospital has 10 ICU beds and four ventilators but they have been left unused in the lack of specialist doctors,” said Krishna Shah, the chief at the hospital.
“We repeatedly urged the higher authorities to send doctors and other health workers to fill the vacant posts but our requests went unheard. Because of the staff shortage, we had a tough time handling coronavirus cases during the second wave of the pandemic. We had to refer critical Covid-19 patients to other health institutions, as our ICU and ventilators could not be put to use,” said Shah.
According to him, the hospital has not had doctors at full capacity for the past three years.
The other departments at the hospital are also facing a shortage of human resources. The PCR lab of the Covid-19-designated hospital has a total of 14 posts but only five of them are occupied at present.
The situation at the Division Forest Office is also the same. There are currently 90 employees at the office which has a total of 110 posts. Assistant Forest Officer Ram Prasad Sah said the office has been struggling to keep in check deforestation and timber smuggling due to the shortage of forest guards.