Development works under Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) are moving at a snail’s pace, courtesy staff crunch.
Even as the city is bursting at its seams, there is no increase in the civic body’s staff strength. And with work pressure on existing officers holding additional charges increased with each passing day, execution of various development works is suffering.
Even as a proposal on the vacancies in almost all its departments was placed by the BMC before the Housing and Urban Development Department last year, no action has been initiated yet.
For instance, for a population of around 10 lakh, BMC has no food inspector. The health and sanitation wing of the civic body has just two assistant health officers. Even as the food inspectors in-charge of Khurda and Balasore districts had been given additional charge of the city, the arrangement does not work in the wake of mushrooming eateries. In the absence of frequent raids, many such eateries continue to function under unhygienic ambience.
The last major raid that was conducted in the city was in October last year when over 200 eateries selling adulterated food were identified.
While some were served with notices to improve their condition, nearly 50 persons were prosecuted under the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act. Besides, the errant vendors were taken to task for not providing clean drinking water to customers.
Condition of electrical division of the Corporation is no better. It has only one assistant electrical engineer besides two junior engineers and just 30 field staff to look after the repair, renovation of the total street lighting system and new connections, if any. There are 25,000 streetlights in Bhubaneswar. This year under the 13th Finance Commission, a proposal has been made to change the present street lighting system to LED/CFL to cut down energy consumption. But in the absence of staff, officials concerned are apprehensive of delay in the project.
Even as the engineering division should have 13 assistant engineers, there are only six to create and look after civic infrastructure in the Capital city. Against the sanctioned four executive engineer posts in two engineering divisions of the civil section, there are just two. Only 11 JEs are there in the civic body as against the requirement of 39.
The vital post of Deputy Secretary too is lying vacant for several months now.
As this is not enough, BMC is also facing dearth of clerical and lower level workers.
As per BMC’s establishment section report on such vacancies in the last six months, of the total 1,358 regular employees the civic body has 973 staff at present which includes skilled, semi-skilled and unskilled workers. Accordingly, 385 seats are lying vacant. Sixty-seven posts were earlier abolished as per the orders of the State Government.
“Without adequate staff strength, even the inter-departmental coordination of various tasks by public health engineering works, general administration departments and drainage division are suffering,” said Mayor Ananta Narayan Jena.