THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: In all, 67.8 per cent of Secretariat employees ‘punched’ their way in for work in time on Monday, the first day after the compulsory biometric attendance system came into effect at the Secretariat.
According to the government, as many as 3,050 of the 4,497 employees punched their attendance before 10.15 am, the cut-off time. As many as 946 employees arrived late for work, while 501 did not register their attendance. So, has the punching system worked?
The government says ‘yes’ with numbers. On December 28, only 1,047 employees had marked their attendance in time. A whopping 2,150 employees had arrived late for work!
Earlier attempts to introduce attendance punching system at the Secretariat had flopped owing to stiff opposition from the employees.But this time, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan stood firm, and the state government also decided to link the mechanism with the salary software Service and Payroll
Administrative Repository for Kerala (SPARK). With this, only those employees who log in using the biometric system will be eligible for salary.While they don’t oppose the new system outright, the employees’ unions urge the government to provide the employees with better amenities, including transportation between the Secretariat and the railway station. Special KSRTC bus services and revised schedules for commuter trains are some of the demands raised by the unions.
“We had approached the government requesting KSRTC services from the Thampanoor railway station between 9.45 am and 10.10 am. We understand the request is still pending with the KSRTC,” said M S Bijukuttan, general secretary of the Left-backed Kerala Secretariat Employees’ Association.“We are not against the system, but the government should also provide necessary facilities to the employees such as transportation,” said T Sreekumar, general secretary of the Congress-backed Kerala Secretariat Association.