Delay in appointments hits Kolkata National Library

Even as it faces acute staff shortage, National Library authorities are allegedly sitting for decades on the appointment of about 18 candidates on compassionate grounds. Such appointments are usually given to a dependent family member when a government employee dies while in service or retires on medical grounds. As reported by The Hindu about four months ago, more than 53 per cent of the sanctioned posts are lying vacant at the Library.

Unions’ charge

Two major staff unions — National Library Employees’ Association and the National Library Staff Association — have alleged that the authorities are “reluctant to make appointments” even as all necessary verification has been completed.

Speaking to The Hindu, the Director-General (Additional Charge) of the National Library, Arun Kumar Chakraborty did not deny the allegations, but said the delay was taking place due to “backlog” in appointments.

Among the 18 candidates waiting for appointment, the longest pending one dates back to April 20, 2004. The family members of one such candidate said they were “living in abject poverty.” “It has been nearly 10 years since my husband [Bhagabal Ghosh] took voluntary retirement on medical grounds and since then my son’s appointment on compassionate grounds has been held up. All I get to hear from the Library authorities is that ‘it will take time’,” said Sandhya Ghosh, wife of Bhagabal Ghosh. Ghosh passed away in June 2006.

According to the regulations of the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT), one of the main eligibility criteria for compassionate appointment is: “The family is indigent and deserves immediate assistance for relief from financial destitution … .”