High-power panel has found it overstaffed

The Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB) has mooted creation of 20 posts, including that of an executive engineer.

However, a high-power committee, appointed by the Kerala High Court and headed by the former Chief Secretary V. Ramachandran, has recommended a recruitment ban in the board and redeployment of staff, finding that 40 per cent of the existing posts are in excess.

The new posts, if created, will lead to an annual financial burden of Rs.1 crore on the board, which is said to be in a financial crisis.

Sources in the board toldThe Hinduhere on Saturday that in addition to the post of executive engineer, those proposed to be created are two of assistant executive engineer, six of assistant engineer, five of grade-I overseer, one of grade-II overseer, two of grade-III overseer, and three of surveyor.

Of the Rs.18.56 crore that is spent by the civil works wing of the board a year, Rs.6.98 crore goes towards salary and Rs. 11.58 crore towards maintenance and civil works at its 1,208 temples. Sabarimala is the main income source of the board, with Rs.50 crore accruing to it from there during the previous pilgrimage season. The monthly income from the rest of the temples is Rs.57 crore. The monthly salary and pension expenses touch Rs.102 crore.

On May 23, the Finance and Accounts Office of the board is understood to have informed the authorities that Rs.8.67 crore is being spent on works in Sabarimala and only Rs.2.91 crore is being apportioned for works in the rest of the temples. Each section office has to execute only works estimated at Rs.16 lakh and many of them have become redundant. A review of the functions of the Thiruvananthapuram, Ulloor, Changanassery, and Thiruvalla section offices has been proposed, sources said.

The board has more division offices and offices of chief engineer than what either the Panchayat Department or the Public Works Department has. Since the civil works in Sabarimala are being executed under the Sabarimala master plan, the workload of the Nilackal, Pamba, and Sabarimala section offices will further dwindle, sources said.

The Finance and Accounts Office has proposed a merger of the section offices for the efficient implementation of the master plan. The office has also proposed to strengthen the vigilance wing and other sections through redeployment.

  • New posts will lead to an annual burden of Rs.1 crore

  • The Devaswom board is said to be in a financial crisis