July 13, 2021 5:42:53 am
With the civic body Commissioner ordering proper use of GPS watches to ensure all field staff at their place of location, orders were passed to deduct salaries of 207 employees, whose watches did not show them to be at the job, on Monday.
The orders were issued for 123 employees of the department of Medical Officer of Health and eight employees of public health department for the month of May. For the month of June, orders were issued to deduct salaries of 76 employees of the department of Medical Officer of Health.
Dr Amrit Warring, Medical Officer of Health said that they had initially held the salaries of these employees waiting for orders from higher authorities and will now deduct their salaries after having received a go-ahead from seniors.
“Either their location was not coming at all or the location was at home during working hours. It is mandatory for all field staff to wear the GPS watches. Thus, there are orders that the salaries of the erring employees be given after deducting the same,” said Dr Warring while speaking to The Indian Express.
The issue had been at the centre of widespread opposition a few months back, when employees refused to wear these.
After the Indian Express had reported that the civic body had been paying a hefty monthly rent of Rs 17.5 lakh for these watches that had been junked, the audit department had questioned officers about why they were paying the rent. However, officials put these watches to use.
According to officials, of the total 4000 watches, around 2,732 display the online message meaning they are still in use, while 1,223 display the offline message. However, councillors have refuted this claim, saying that hardly a few watches are in use, while the rest have been junked.
The objective of the GPS-enabled wrist watches was to record attendance of field staff shift-wise, prevent and control misuse of manual attendance system, maintain transparency, accountability in operations and weed out fake, duplicate workers.
These watches were acquired at a monthly rent of Rs 17.5 lakh, adding up to Rs 2.10 crore per year.
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