As many as 625 sanitation workers — who were absent from duty during a surprise check by Municipal Commissioner K K Yadav two weeks ago — were found to be working at the residences of officers, retired officers, councillors and even their relatives, according to an internal report of the civic body. With the salary of one sanitation worker being around Rs 13,000 per month, approximately Rs 81.25 lakh was being paid by the municipal corporation to these “ghost employees”, who were drawing salaries for sweeping and cleaning the city but were found doing personal chores of officials.
Commissioner Yadav has directed the medical officer of the health wing to withdraw all such workers, adding that they would face dismissal if they do not return to their actual place of work. He has also got a list of councillors who were using these sanitation workers’ services for their personal chores.
Not just councillors, officials of the engineering wing were also found “enjoying” the facility at the cost of government funds. According to the report, two safai karamcharis were found working at the residence of the mother-in-law of a junior engineer of the building and roads wing of the municipal corporation.
Six sanitation workers were found to be working at the residence of a former municipal commissioner, two others were found working at an ex-joint commissioner’s home.
Mayor Rajesh Kalia told Chandigarh Newsline, “I agree I am from their community and that is why it was hard for me to pursue this with officers. I told the officers that they will face suspension if workers in their respective areas do not return to work…respective area officials have been told to send these safai karamcharis back. These people are supposed to clean up the city. It is pathetic that safai karamcharis were working at the residence of a JE’s mother-in-law’s house.”
“Three safai karamcharis were working at a councillor’s — one for mopping the house, one as a driver and one for washing clothes. I am the mayor and have to see the interest of the city first,” he added.
In 2017, while releasing a sanitation plan, an MC officer in charge of the sanitation wing had mistakenly uploaded a
list of sanitation workers working at the houses of the top brass. Following Chandigarh Newsline’s queries, the officer had deleted the sanitation plan from the website. The details uploaded that time had specified that one sanitation worker was deployed only to clean the lane of the then civic commissioner’s residence, and four others too worked at his home.
Dr Amrit Warring, Medical Officer of Health (MOH), told Chandigarh Newsline, “Most of them have returned and we have given them new duties as well. Some of them have been deployed to clean up the grain market in Sector 26 which we have recently taken over, apart from villages that have come under the municipal corporation’s