CHENNAI: After struggling to fill vacant posts for 15 years, Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority (CMDA) is planning to recruit 130 staff via direct recruitment. CMDA currently has 328 officials against the sanctioned strength of 819.
"We are short of staff in three major categories- planners in grade-I, grade-II, grade III and grade IV, drivers and assistant engineers (civil). The recruitment drive will be mainly for these three categories," said a CMDA official.
A major roadblock in recruitment is two rules. One is the approved service rule of 1980 and second is the draft rule of 1992, which was amended recently, but it has not been ratified. If the government goes by the approved rule then it has restrictions in filling up posts of assistant planner and deputy planner.
The CMDA official added, "We are in touch with Tamil Nadu e-governance agency to identify a good vendor who will conduct the test online. We have proposed it to the government," he said.
The shortage of manpower has resulted in CMDA carrying out recruitment drives by relaxing the rules and in some cases bending it to promote officials or recruiting via outsourcing. Usually, the Authority of CMDA, headed by the housing minister and housing secretary, decide on the recruitment, but it has been observed that the Authority is not adopting a consistent policy in the service regulations.
It appears that different procedures are followed for different persons, leading to bitterness and nearly 30 cases are pending in court due to this.
A case in point is a routine promotion that was cleared by the then housing secretary along with the housing minister last year but has yet to be given assent. Usually, such promotions are cleared by CMDA. This one was sent to the finance department for approval. When approval was granted, the then secretary cleared it and the housing minister gave his assent. But what is surprising is that the then housing secretary, who had initially cleared the file in Authority, delayed it after the model code of conduct got over. Now, while other files pertaining to the promotion have been cleared, this file has been delayed despite a petition being sent to the chief minister's office.
Meanwhile, it is learnt that the CMDA is using services of the Electronic Corporation of Tamil Nadu (ELCOT) to hire contract staff, but Elcot has decided to wind up the present agreement on September 28 and CMDA has to recruit its staff directly. Previoulsy, officials had suggested creating a separate technical recruitment board for posts requiring technical qualifications after being pulled up by the Madurai Bench of Madras High Court. This will generate transparency, say sources.