Strange seem to be the ways of the cash-strapped Amritsar municipal corporation, which has "rewarded its non-performing superintendents" of the house tax department with additional charge.
One such case is of a superintendent with massive shortfall of more than Rs. 1 crore in house tax recoveries. The said official has been given additional charge of a posh locality in GT Road area near AlphaOne Mall, which houses some big commercial establishments.
MC authorities however maintain that this was only a "makeshift arrangement" as part of civic authorities' bid to deal with the problem of "overstaffing" in the house tax department. Sources claimed that the said superintendent was among the four assigned additional charge of different areas, despite their alleged inability to meet targets.
Sources claimed that he was elevated to the post almost a year ago despite several complaints of corruption against him and almost 22 explanation calls made on him. No action had ever been taken against him.
They averred that the official failed to meet the set target even this year and the shortfall was estimated at more than Rs. 1 crore. According to sources, others assigned additional areas too had not been able to meet their recovery targets in totality. They added that the development had an adverse impact on the morale of efficient employees.
Municipal commissioner BS Rai said, "This is a temporary arrangement and part of the efforts to deal with the problem of overstaffing in the department."
He added that there was a proposal to shift the staff from this department to those that lacked required workforce to help boost recoveries and consequently boost the MC income.