CHENNAI: Shortage of Assistant Engineers (AE) in the Thiru Vi Ka Nagar zone, have added to the woes of residents, already struggling without a councillor to raise local civic issues in the corporation council, with civic operations in the area taking a hit.
According to Thiru Vi Ka Nagar MLA Thayagam Kavi, three wards 72 (Kilpauk (South), 73 (Aminjikarai (North) and 75 (Aminjikarai (West) in the zone have had vacant AE/junior engineer JE posts for several months.
“We made a representation to the Corporation commissioner and an AE post in ward 72 was filled last week,” he said, adding that until then the AE of ward 71 took additional charge of wards 72 and 73 and AE of ward 76 took additional charge of 75.
However, with the rest of the posts still vacant, several road laying projects remained pending and conservancy operations, inconsistent, he added.
While works for laying a 936 metre pipe in Kavankarai Salai and similar activities have been taken up in Kannigapuram and Krishnadas Road, residents fear that the relaying of these roads would be hit without a Assistant or Junior Engineer, usually responsible for recording measurements during the progress of work and monitoring at the field level.
Said J Ravi Kumar, a resident, “Conservancy operations are also hit in the locality and several parks suffer from poor maintenance including the Otteri Herbal Park.”
He added that public toilets in areas like Ambedkar Nagar and Gandhi Nagar were also poorly maintained and the issue could not be escalated to the authorities concerned.
Although Assistant Engineers-in-charge are posted in the wards, an AE in the city who is in-charge of two wards in the city, said on condition of anonymity, “AEs work at the field level — monitoring civic infrastructure projects, checking stormwater drain complaints and making sure debris is regularly cleared. One engineer will not be able to do justice to the full range of operations.”
Amidst complaints of shortage of Assistant Engineers at the zonal levels, the Greater Chennai Corporation had in February, advertised for the post of 66 Assistant Engineers in civil, mechanical and electrical streams.
Said a senior corporation official, “With at least 60% of the AE vacancies full, we are able to manage reasonably well. But, we are looking to fill all the vacancies soon.”