BANGALORE: Extra engineers in the town planning section of the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike were recently transferred out, but they are still coming back every day to “learn the job”.
The department sanctions building plans, and issues work commencement and occupancy certificates, all of which afford scope for municipal officials to extort citizens.
A senior BBMP official said engineers clamour to be in the department because it is lucrative.
Officials from other departments and also from outside BBMP bring recommendation letters from ministers and the chief minister to get a posting in town planning, he said.
BBMP Commissioner M Lakshminarayana said of the 40 engineers in town planning, 30 had been excess.
“We can manage with just 10. The rest have little work. That is why we decided to transfer them to solid waste management, stormwater drain, lakes and quality control departments, where we need staff,” he said.
However, the engineers have been allowed to return for one hour a day to work in town planning.
Lakshminarayana said they were keen on learning work there.
“They just come to be in town planning for an hour to learn. As and when required, we can use their services in the department,” he said.
Mayor Shanthakumari also favours the order. “It is all right to get two jobs done from one officer, if necessary,” the mayor said.
However, in Bangalore, it takes at least two hours to travel from one office to another, and in an hour, nothing can be done, she said.
Councillors, however, are keen to call the bluff, saying the idea is a waste of time and money.
A BJP councillor said an engineer who claims to work in two places uses his office car and wastes fuel.
“These officials don’t even do the work given to them, and never go to office on time. What can they do at two places?” the councillor wondered.