Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, who is generally regarded as being “soft'' towards the bureaucracy, virtually pulled up senior officers on Friday as part of an exercise to critically examine the functioning of his regime.

Chairing a meeting of the Administrative Secretaries here, he directed them to become more responsive and resolve public grievances on priority.

Mincing no words, he directed them to meet people during the prescribed meeting hours.

Interestingly, he also issued a “fatwa'' that they should “attend promptly'' to the calls of public representatives.

According to Haryana-watchers, it was the Chief Minister's compulsion to adopt a hard stance in the wake of several complaints that bureaucrats did not give due respect and proper response to the MPs and MLAs.

He warned that “no complaint should come to me in this regard in future”. Observers say that several political leaders, including legislators and MPs, are miffed that they were being “ignored'' by the bureaucrats and complaints had even reached the Congress high command.

Effective monitoring

Mr. Hooda also directed them to ensure timely delivery of various services to the citizens. Virtually delivering a “sermon'', he exhorted them to attend their offices punctually and visit the field regularly to ensure effective monitoring of the departments under them. A direction was also given to complete all pending announcements made by him on priority and inform him about the “progress”. It is being said openly that many announcements and assurances given by the Chief Minister have been hanging fire for more than a year.

He also asked them to inform him regularly about utilisation of funds received from the Centre and the “progress on 13 flagship programmes''.

The Chief Minister reminded the officers that his political mission was to catapult Haryana into No. 1 position so far as integral development of the State was concerned.

Chief Secretary Urvashi Gulati, Chief Minister's Principal Secretary Chhatar Singh and Principal Officer on Special Duty M.S. Chopra were among those present.