Shimla, June 9
Shimla Municipal Corporation is running on skeletal staff. One of the oldest corporations in the country has just one executive engineer, one sub-divisional officer and just three sanitary inspectors to take care of 41 wards inhabited by roughly 2.5 lakh people.
“The MC is too short staffed to carry out its functions in the best possible manner. Much of the staff is as per the cadre strength of 1984 when Shimla’s population was just 70,000. Now, the population has grown nearly four times but the cadre strength has not been revised much,” said former mayor Sanjay Chauhan.
Interestingly, there’s a shortage of staff even as per the cadre strength sanctioned decades back. Against two sanctioned posts of executive engineers, there’s only one. Against three sanctioned posts of sub-divisional officers, two are vacant, and there are just three sanitary inspectors against nine sanctioned posts. And the vacancies at lower rungs in the corporation run into hundreds.
“With just a handful of officers, it’s difficult to carry out and supervise the works going on within the MC limits. How could three sanitary inspectors take care of 41 wards?” said a MC official. “Besides, there are several Smart City and AMRUT Mission projects going on in the city. How will one XEN and an SDO keep a tab on all these works,” he added.
In the Corporation’s Health and Road and Building departments, the staff shortage runs into hundreds. “In 2017, we sent the requisition of 753 staff to the government. Among these, there were over 250 vacant posts of sweepers. People are retiring, but there has been no recruitment for years now,” said Chauhan.
“Earlier, there used to be 15-20 workers from the Road and Building Department in each ward but now there is hardly one or two staff,” he added.
MC Commissioner Ashish Kohli said efforts were being made to fill up some vacancies. “We are hopeful of getting as many as six sanitary inspectors and 20 Junior Office Assistants shortly. The Staff Selection Commission has already conducted tests for these positions,” said Kohli.
Meanwhile, Chauhan said vacancies were not being filled up deliberately by the government. “The government wants to privatize all services, like it has privatized water supply to the city,” he said.