Even as the state home department awaits its new minister, it already has a problem that needs urgent attention.
The new technology department of the Forensic Sciences Laboratory (FSL), Kalina, that includes the narco and brain mapping, tape and voice recording and cyber departments, needs hands to work because contracts of 21 of its 30 employees have expired.
"The department that started in the 2006 has 30 people. The government has not created posts for this department so the staff was hired on three-year contracts," an official from the FSL said requesting anonymity because he is not authorised to speak to the media. "These contracts expired in 2009 but were extended by a year. Now, the renewed contracts have also expired."
By the end of November, the contracts of most of the remaining employees will also end, the official said. "Even with full strength, the department is not able to cope with the number of cases coming in. If the permission [to renew contracts] is not given, investigations may come to a halt," he said.
MV Garad, the director of the FSL, confirmed there was a problem. "I will be discussing the issue in a meeting with the home minister and director general of police on November 15. Hopefully the issue will be sorted out then." Additional chief secretary (home) Chandra Iyengar said she is on leave and asked the Hindustan Times to contact her on Wednesday.
The department's employees, who are graduates and post-graduates, are uncertain about the renewal of their contracts and may soon start looking for options," sources said.
"The FSL had asked the government to regularise the 30 posts in the new technology department but employees were hired on a contractual basis," the official said. Rukmini Krishnamurthy, former director of FSL, said she had sent a proposal to the state government in 2008 saying posts for such an important department need to be regularised. "Two years have passed but nothing has been done," Krishnamurthy said. "It is a setback that the contracts are expiring and the authorities have done nothing about it."