In the past few weeks, ever since G. Latha assumed office as Commissioner, Coimbatore Corporation, the civic body came up with a slew of announcements. The announcements followed series of review meetings she held with various department officials. The field staff were asked to supervise public toilet maintenance, ensure faulty street lights were repaired at the earliest, complaints were attended to at the earliest, etc.
The public welcomed the announcements and so did the officials. But the latter say for the Commissioner’s instructions to be carried out in the right earnest, the staff strength has to be increased.
On condition of anonymity, engineering wing staff says that with minimum staff it will be difficult to deliver service at the quality the Commissioner expects. And for a sustained period at that.
They point out that as against the norm of having an assistant or a junior engineer for a ward, the Corporation has only 20 or so engineers, who, given the strength, are burdened with five or more wards each.
The field engineers will have to take care of water supply, drain construction, street light maintenance, return office in the afternoons to work as draughtsman and do much more like also attending to faults/complaints.
There are not enough engineers at the supervisory cadre as well. For a civic body like Corporation, which manages five water supply schemes — Pilloor I and II, Aliyar, Siruvani and Bhavani the number of engineers is grossly inadequate.
Likewise, to maintain over 60,000 street lights, the Corporation has no electrical engineer. Only recently the City Engineer retired.
The sources regret that even as the existing engineers go on retirement, the Corporation seems to be doing little to get the State Government’s nod for having more sanctioned posts and filling up the same. In January last year, a little over a year ago, the Council passed a resolution asking for superintending engineers, environment officer, executive engineers, urban health nurses, bill collectors, security and much more.
They point out that there was an urgent need for the Corporation to get more sanctioned posts and fill up those and also vacancies because the area has increased from 105 sq.km to over 250 sq.km and so has the number of households.
Adding strength to their demand is the civic body’s financial position. Even if the posts were to be created and staff appointed, the over-all expenditure towards salary will be well within the norms, they add.
Senior officials say that they are aware of the issue and have reminded the Government in this regard. Until such time, they will focus on efficient use of manpower of privatising work like solid waste management.