Sangeetha Unnithan

Concern over cut in allowance, poor connectivity

Network meant to make office paper-free not installed

Shift to new premises likely by September end

Thiruvananthapuram: The district administration is preparing to shift the Collectorate to the Civil Station at Kudappanakunnu, amid concerns raised by the employees over the inadequate facilities and infrastructure at the new premises.

Though a final date has not yet been fixed, authorities are now planning to shift the Collectorate by the end of September. But, Collectorate employees allege that they are being dumped in a structure that lacks even basic facilities like electricity and water connection. They fear that poor transport services and lack of connectivity will isolate the Civil Station from the city centre.

No water, power

“The new complex is not ready for occupation. There is no electricity, drinking water or toilets. There are just huge empty halls with no demarcation, cabins or furniture. There is also no mention of the DC Suite, a computerised network that is supposed to link the Collectorate with the other offices in the city,” said a member of Joint Council, an employees union.

The first phase of the Civil Station was completed in three years at a cost of around Rs.16.75 crore.

The A and B blocks of the complex were inaugurated in July this year. Seventeen offices attached to the District Collectorate are scheduled to be shifted to the Civil Station initially.

District Collector Sanjay Kaul, however, said that although the basic infrastructure could be provided in a month, the delay in installing DC Suite would pose problems.

Based on the concept of a paper-free office, the DC Suite is a Web-based solution covering all functional areas of the Collectorate.

“The programme intends to computerise communication among various departments in the Collectorate and also to link it with other government offices. It has been launched in 12 districts except Thiruvananthapuram and Wayanad. While districts like Palakkad have implemented the second phase of DC Suite, Thiruvananthapuram is yet to receive funds for starting the project,” Mr. Kaul said.

Now, the relocated Collectorate will not only have to continue with its paper work, it might also have to transport all its old, broken furniture to the Civil Station.

However, it is not just the lack of plush furniture or cutting-edge technology that is worrying the employees.

There is also concern on an ensuing cut in their allowances. With the Collectorate shifting from City Corporation to a panchayat, the employees stand to lose the City Compensation Allowance (CCA). They are also concerned about a reduction in House Rent Allowance.

Commuting woes

“In a recent order by the Accountant General (AG), the HRA of an officer transferred to the Kudappanakunnu Livestock Management Training Centre was reduced to Rs.150 from Rs.750. At this rate, almost all the Collectorate employees will suffer a minimum cut of around Rs.300 in HRA. Plus, they will now have to shell out more for commuting to office,” a senior official said.

He added that the relocation would also affect many employees who commute to the city from neighbouring districts, mostly by train.

“However, the most badly-affected will be the general public, especially the differently-abled and senior citizens who will find it difficult to reach the Civil Station,” the official points out.