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Gorakhpur, before 1857, was the headquarters of a Division which included the modern districts of Gorakhpur, Basti, Azamgarh and part of Ballia but after the freedom struggle of 1857 the whole ( the then Gorakhpur Division) was merged with the Banaras (Varanasi) Division. In 1891, the commissionership of Gorakhpur, comprised the districts of Gorakhpur, Basti and Azamgarh.
The present district of Gorakhpur has been carved out of the old district of the same name, which was split up in 1946 into the districts of Deoria and Gorakhpur.
At present the district of Gorakhpur forms part of the Gorakhpur Division, other component districts of which are Basti, Azamgarh and Deoria. The Division is in the charge of a commissioner with headquarter at Gorakhpur. Since 1829, a commissioner of revenue and circuit enjoying full authority
within his jurisdiction and functioned. The post is still continuing as commissioner.
No doubt, the creation of numerous offices at the regional level has prompted transfer of several functions to departmental officers yet, the commissioner continues to act as a vital link between the districts under him, and the government. Backed by a substantial amount of administrative experience, he co-ordinates the activities of the various departments in district of his Division. He is an appellate authority for revenue cases and performs the role of a superior officer in all matters pertaining administration. He exercises control over the local bodies, and supervises development work in the Division. He is also the chairman of the regional transport authority. He is usually assisted by additional commissioners for the disposals and by a joint/deputy development commissioner in matter relating to planning and development.
The head of the civil administration in the district is the district officer who is designated as district magistrate and collector. His office has occupied a key position in the administrative set-up since the British rule in India. An important legacy of the British rule in India was the propounding of the ideal relating to the role of a district officer. The principal behind this ideal was well explained by Warren Hastings who opined that the British East India Company would be remembered by the virtue and not the ability of its officers. The institution thus founded, was best expressed in terms of the system improvised by the British for district administration in India.
The guidelines of this structure which developed in the course of time resulted in establishing the status of the district officer in this district also as elsewhere as a guardian of public interest in his district, the executive and the judicial functions with the exception of capital punishment inevitably blending into his duties. In 1861, the magistrate collector, as he was then known, ceded some of his powers to the superintendent of police, making the latter responsible for the maintenance, supervision and discipline of police force and henceforth assumed the status of a director in matters of general policy in the district.
After Independence, though the district magistrate continues to be the highest executive authority and the pivot of the entire general administrative machinery in the district, he is required to make maximum efforts for public welfare simultaneously. He is assisted by the magistracy and the police in the maintenance of law and order and execution of the policies laid down by the government. In this capacity as district magistrate, and head of the criminal administration he supervises law and order in the district. The transfers and postings of police-station officers are usually done with his approval. He has the power to inspect police-stations and to direct subdivisional magistrates to do so. The entire magistracy and police rally round his authority to tackle with antisocial elements. As collector he is responsible for collection of land revenue and other government dues, for maintenance of land records and for providing relief, in the event of a natural calamity. The district treasury with its units functioning in tahsils is also under his charge. Each tahsil has a sub-treasury under the tahsildar concerned.
Five-year Plans provided for a unified direction and control at all administrative levels. All the departments engaged in development work, e.g. agriculture, animal husbandry, co-operatives, panchayats, minor irrigation and information have been placed under his general control. For day to day administration district development officer is posted at the district headquarters.
In his capacity as ex-officio district election officer, he conducts elections to the Lok Sabha (House of the People), Vidhan Sabha (State Legislative Assembly) and various local bodies. The district officer as head of the department of civil supplies in the district, ensures equitable distribution of food-grains and other essential commodities through a network of fair price shops and consumer stores. He is assisted by a district supply officer. The district soldiers', sailors' and airmen's board is presided over by him and guided in matters pertaining to the welfare of ex-servicemen and serving soldiers of the district.
Civil defence is yet another task occupying an
important position in the long list of duties assigned to a district officer. The civil
defence scheme was started in the district in 1962, in the wake of the Chinese Aggression.
The measures under it are not confined strictly to civil defence but also covered allied
functions like medical facilities, regulation of supplies and distribution of essential
to hold the price line.
In capacity as controller of civil defence, the district officer has to execute, co-ordinate and control operations of all civil defence measures at the district level. He is assisted by a deputy controller, a civil defence officer, and an officer-in-charge, civil defence division ( a division covering one lakh population) and other ancillary staff.
A number of deputy collector performing various duties concerning revenue and criminal administration and also assisting development work within their subdivisions, act in subordination to the district officer. The officer-in-charge of the four subdivisions of the district are designated subdivisional magistrates. Their duties are mostly similar to those of the district officer, being confined however, conduct identification proceedings, record dying declarations and assist in the enforcement of various law, orders, rules and regulations.
The designations of the other district level officers of the State Government in the district, working under the administrative control of their departmental heads are the :
Superintendent of Police
Chief Medical Officer
District Supply Officer
Settlement Officer (Consolidation)
District Inspector of School
District Agriculture Officer
District Live-stock Officer
District Employment Officer
District Harijan and Social Welfare Officer
District Industries Officer
District Information Officer
District Panchayat Raj Officer
District Probation Officer
District Statistics Officer
Assistant Registrar, Co-operative Societies
Executive Engineer, Irrigation
Excessive Engineer, Public Works Department
Superintendent, District Jail
Sales Tax Officer
Regional officer of principal departments of the planning and development set up of the State are also stationed at Gorakhpur.
National Savings Organisation :- A regional assistant director is stationed at Gorakhpur to supervise the work of district savings officers employed in the districts of Gorakhpur, Basti, Deoria and Azamgarh for intensifying small campaign and seeking investment in post-office securities. District development officer is the officer-in-charge of the national saving organisation in the district who is assisted by two district saving officer.
Income-Tax :- The district of Gorakhpur falls under the administrative control of the commissioner of income-tax, Lucknow. For purposes of assessment and collection of tax the district is divided into five wards. There four inspectors to perform field duties under the income-tax officer.
Central Excise :- An integrated divisional officer headed by an assistant collector of central excise is located at Gorakhpur. His jurisdiction extends to the districts of Gorakhpur, Deoria, Basti, Gonda and Bahraich.
He is responsible for assessment and collection of central excise duties on such items as tobacco (unmanufactured), sugar, fertilizers, jute, Khandsari ferrous and non-ferrous manufactures, powerlooms patent and proprietary, motor spirit, etc. Enforcement of Gold Control Order is also an important duty performed by this unit. The assistant collector is assisted by 31 inspectors posted in the district.
Post and Telegraph :- A senior superintendent of post-offices is posted at Gorakhpur to supervise the functioning of the head post-office, sub post-office and branch post-office located in the district. For effective control, the division is subdivided into four areas, three having their headquarters in Gorakhpur city and the remaining one at Kauriram. The senior superintendent is assisted by a team of inspectors and an assistant superintendent.
Railway :- The district is served by the railways Gorakhpur town, besides being an important junction is also the headquarters of this railway. All the principal offices and units of this railway zone are located here.
All India Radio :- Gorakhpur has a station of the All India Radio, under the charge of an engineer, assisted by a programme executive. It was inaugurated in 1972 and the studio was commissioned in 1974.
Field Publicity Unit :- Established in 1964, the field publicity unit Gorakhpur is one of the 21 such units presently working in the U.P. region under the overall administrative control of the regional publicity officer stationed at Lucknow. The programme is sponsored by the department of information and broadcasting, Government of India. The districts of Deoria and Basti also come under the jurisdiction of the field publicity unit, Gorakhpur. It aims at giving information on current topics and purposive entertainment to the common people who have relatively less opportunities to see films which are important media of mass education on current social, economic, cultural and educational subjects. Besides film shows, talks, group discussions, exhibitions, dramas and folk songs are also organised to educate people.