ADDC Anantnag, Riyaz Ahmad Sofi on Monday made surprise visits to check the attendance of employees in departments of Flood Control Division, Anantnag, Horticulture Department, Social Welfare, ARTO Office, District Statics & Evaluation, Fisheries, Chief Education Office, Chief Animal Husbandry Office and Tehsil Office, Anantnag. A total of 13 employees were found to be absent from duty in the district, who will now be facing legal action. Surprise visits by higher officials of the administration is a proven method to prevent dereliction of duties in government offices across the state. However, the administration cannot rely entirely on surprise visits and must look for other alternatives to ensure attendance in the offices. Previous Governor NN Vohra was a strict administrator and on several occasions worked for bringing a change in the office work culture. He stressed on modern methods of ensuring attendance in offices like installing biometric system. While daily attendance is an issue, people in the state have also suffered due to long absences of government officials in various departments that provide public services. Government announced termination of 100 doctors some time ago for their long and unofficial absence from the duties. Absentees have also forwarded different reasons to remain off duty, and in the case of daily absenteeism most of the times it is on trivial matters. In the health and education sectors the problem of absenteeism is acute. People have complained that doctors are at times not present in tertiary care hospitals in Srinagar city and remain on call to see the patients due to their indulgence in private practices despite the government ban. Also in the case of education department that employs huge staff, there are schools where influential teachers are said to show dereliction towards duty by either not attending the schools on regular basis or leaving the schools before closing time. Absenteeism in government offices is a chronic disease and needs proper treatment. Surprise visits are not only cumbersome but a time taking process. The government cannot afford to conduct surprise visits throughout the year. Biometric system offers an efficient way of monitoring attendance in offices. But then the government has to ensure that data is not tampered with. By taking stock of the situation the government can also improve the accountability in the offices. And lastly, action against the erring officials will ensure that the practice is not emulated.