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Layoffs at forensic lab despite govt order

Uncertain: Employees of the overburdened lab fear they will be jobless once their contract expires

delhi Updated: Mar 18, 2015 15:40 IST
Faizan Haidar
Faizan Haidar
Hindustan Times

Over two dozen employees at the forensic science laboratory in Rohini — the only government facility for testing of forensic samples in Delhi — are staring at termination, despite a recent government assurance to the contrary.

The move may further hit work at the overburdened laboratory that is working at 60% of the sanctioned staff strength.

A scientific assistant working in the lab for the past two years found himself jobless when he went back to work on March 10 after a few days’ leave. His services were terminated on March 9. Over two dozen employees, whose contracts are about to expire fear the same is going to happen to them and have approached the Delhi government.

“The management did not even bother to inform me or give a notice. When I reached on 10th morning, they handed me with a termination letter. I reminded them about the Delhi government’s order but in vain,” said Sumit Kumar, 26.

Delhi has a shortage of forensic labs and the government is planning to strengthen the network to reduce the pendency of crime cases.

“I have filed a complaint with the chief secretary, deputy chief minister and special secretary (services). I hope the government will look into it as there are over 200 contractual employees in the lab and our future is at stake,” Kumar added.

Another employee whose contract is about to expire next week— said uncertainty looms over their future at the lab. “We cannot even raise our voices as the management will take action. We will have to wait and see what their decision is,” said another employee, requesting anonymity.

However, director of FSL Rohini said that the government order lacks clarity and they are unable to retain employees. “People are hired on contract basis to replace a permanent employee. When the permanent employee is back, we are bound to terminate the contractual employee as we do not have the ability to pay two people for the same post. I am aware of the order but it doesn’t say anything for those hired to replace a permanent employee,” said RK Sareen, director of the lab.

Two days after taking oath, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government had ordered that contractual employees should not be fired till further orders. The government is planning to review the status of over one lakh contractual employees and said they will be made permanent soon.

Pendency of cases may go up

# About 10,000 criminal cases are pending due to incomplete forensic analysis.
# Majority of forensic samples have an average lifespan of six months and become quite unusable by the time they are taken up for analysis.
# Delhi has only one forensic lab, proposal for three more pending.
# Rohini lab severely understaffed with just 60% of its sanctioned strength.
# Almost 500 new cases requiring forensic analysis are sent to Rohini FSL every month.
# Delhi Police also seek services of FSLs located in other cities like Chandigarh, Ahmedabad, Kolkata and Hyderabad.

First Published: Mar 16, 2015 17:34 IST