Madhya Pradesh urban development minister Maya Singh’s order to remove an engineer of the Bhopal Municipal Corporation for poor maintenance of roads in the city, has raised a number of questions about officials on deputation with the civic body.
Singh has questioned how an electrical engineer was made in-charge of roads and that too for such a long tenure.
Nanda, an employee of the Madhya Pradesh Electricity Board for more than 11 years, has been on deputation with the BMC a number of times.
A study by Hindustan Times with the help of Right to Information (RTI) activist Nitin Saxena, has revealed that as many as 38 officials from different departments are on deputation with the BMC for more than three years, with some officials having spent more than 20 years on deputation with the civic body.
A document tabled in the state assembly on July 16 this year, lists the names of officials who have posted “until the further order” against the duration of their deputation, which is against the norms, says RTI activist Saxena. The document also reveals names of officials whose deputation has long been over yet they are posted with the BMC.
The BMC cannot act against the erring officials who are on deputation as their parent departments rarely take any action against them and most officials take advantage of the rules not being followed, and extend their deputation for more than three years.
In 2014, former BMC commissioner Tejaswi Naik wrote a letter to the principal secretary of the urban administration and environment department “to call back officials who completed four year or more with the BMC, to their parent departments”. But no action was taken, says Saxena.
“At least 21 senior officials who are on deputation in various departments in BMC, have spent their entire career with the civic body and have not gone back to their parent departments.”
BMC commissioner Chhavi Bharadwaj says that the civic body is perpetually short-staffed and departments cannot function without field officials.
“We won’t try to repatriate officials on deputation but if the parent departments want them back then it’s their decision,” Bharadwaj said.