Ending two holidays

PERHAPS :the first and only act of sanity that Raja Pervez Ashraf has done after playing havoc with the energy sector has been the summary he has sent to the Prime Minister to cancel twoweekly holidays. He has no doubt rightly argued that with the decrease in load on the national gridowing to winters, the two work holidays, which were mistakenly thought to conserve energy,could be discontinued.More importantly, why two holidays should be discouraged is because of the tremendous amountof difficulties it creates for the public visiting government offices. Given the fact that a majority ofpublic servants and even those of lower cadres usually tend to skip their offices on Friday, or atbest stay for short time, the off day on Saturday is tantamount to closing the doors of officialdom for three consecutive days. Reports that a section of the bureaucracy strongly supports two holidays’ policy, indicates the tendency of our civil servants to avoid as much work as possible. Ours is a country where bad governance and the poor administrative set-up havegiven birth to evils such as red-tapism and the notorious file culture.

However, the two weekly holidays has only worsened the system in terms of day-to-day functioning and, at the end of the day, has greatly added to the problems of the public. It is not hard to imagine the disappointment of a man coming all the way from his village to the district after a long journey only to find that the office he had to visit is closed because the government wanted to conserve some electricity.Under the circumstances, energies must be focused on improving good governance, and generating sufficient electricity through building dams and setting up power plants. Besides, the fact that the debate about whether to end or continue two holidays is frequently contested among the government circles consuming precious time of the parliamentarians and ministers alike,which could have been used to attend to more pressing issues, reflects poorly on the state ofleadership we have. The issue must be settled once and for all