Absence of permanent staff hampers work at Govt. offices.

Frequent transfer of staff in some of the town panchayats around Tambaram has been causing problems to public who visit the offices of these urban local bodies frequently.

There were nearly two dozen town panchayats in Kancheepuram district, but their numbers have been reduced after the expansion exercise of Chennai Corporation. Cash rich town panchayats along the Rajiv Gandhi Salai – Perungudi and Sholinganallur — and also others such as Nandambakkam, Meenambakkam and Pallikaranai have become part of the city limits.

Though after the merger, the staff working in these town panchayats were at the disposal of the Directorate of Town Panchayat, some of the local bodies do not have permanent Executive Officer (EO).

EOs are to the town panchayats, what a commissioner, an engineer and a sanitary officer are to municipalities, with all duties rolled into one post.

In three town panchayats, Mamallapuram, Chitlapakkam and Sembakkam, the respective EOs have been transferred at frequent intervals without giving them enough time to settle down to have a complete grip over their jurisdiction.

Elected representatives cutting across political affiliations suspected a bigger motive by a section of staff of the local district unit to keep new recruits and also those from other places away from town panchayats in Kancheepuram Districts.

According to the elected representatives, most of the current EOs have risen from the ranks and the State government recently launched a State-wide examination for recruiting young people directly for the post and were being thwarted to prove their mettle.

According to them, a section of the staff were running a parallel administration, using the services of recently retired staff from the drectorate to clear files.

In the absence of the EOs, the general public suffered the most, unable to get their things done.

The daily administration too came to a stand still and it was not possible for the rest of the senior staff to complete the daily routine tasks. Though Executive Officers from other town panchayats would hold additional charge, the smooth daily administration could be ensured by permanent Executive Officers.

Feeling the pinch are residents like T.Sivaraj of Mahalakshmi Nagar who told The Hindu that he was informed that the EO holding charge was sitting in a location very far away. He recalled that some years ago, the town panchayats were a model even for municipalities, showing the way ahead in solid waste management and mass cleaning every fortnight.

At present dumping of garbage and their subsequent burning on the margin of water bodies for instance along the Peerkankaranai Lake was going on unabated. He urged the Directorate to pay greater attention to the town panchayats in the city’s immediate vicinity as problems faced by residents of these urban local bodies too were as varied and challenging as the rest.

In an attempt to completely root out any form nepotism at the time of appointment of staff at various levels in the town panchayats, the Directorate could consider going the way of Tamil Nadu Public Service Commission, using social networking forums as part of efforts to put in place a transparent mechanism.

Grievance meetings could be conducted at least once in few months in which engineers and officials from different government departments can participate and listen to the problems faced by tax-payers directly.

More In: Downtown | Chennai