Biometric attendance to axe fake civic workers in Bengaluru

BBMP Joint Commissioner (solid waste management) Sarfaraz Khan said the biometric attendance system will be in place in three weeks.The city civic corporation will introduce a biometric attendance system for pourakarmikas after its own data revealed how garbage contractors had created bogus civic workers to loot public money. 

The "scam" is now confirmed, civic activists point out, thanks to ward-wise muster rolls of all 32,000 pourakarmikas, which the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) uploaded on its website. For long, it was held that contractors who work in multiple wards show the same set of pourakarmikas in order to claim higher bills. Such manipulation is costing the civic body "crores of rupees," an activist said 

Sample this: Thirumalai started working as a pourakarmika in the Doddanekkundi ward seven years ago. Strangely, the muster roll of this ward has eight pourakarmikas named Thirumalai - two of them shown to have joined in 2012 - all with the same provident fund number, employee state insurance number, address and photograph. But each one has a different registration number. 

This repeats in other wards: There are seven pourakarmikas named Shankar N in Horamavu; four Mangalammas in Uttarahalli; three Munirajs, two Sabari Nathans, two Akbar Alis, two Prabhavatis and so on in the Kempegowda ward alone. 

"Contractors claim money for 210 pourakarmikas but one won't find more than 40-60 of them working on the ground," solid waste management expert V Ramprasad said, referring to the Vidyaranyapura ward where he lives. “Here, the contractor is paid about Rs 22 lakh and half of it goes into his pocket.“ 

The city spends Rs 600 crore every year on solid waste management. "Quite easily, about Rs 300 crore is going unaccounted for," Ramprasad believes. Residents are now sifting through data of their wards to identify duplication. 

"This is the first step towards transparency," Whitefield Rising member Anu Govind said. "It is left for people to clarify and make things better. The exact percentage of duplication will be known only after rolls of all 198 wards are checked thoroughly." 
BBMP Joint Commissioner (solid waste management) Sarfaraz Khan said the biometric attendance system will be in place in three weeks. "This will clean things up because there will be no scope for any duplication," he said. 

However, Khan said duplication of pourakarmikas is not on a large scale. “It's not that contractors are faking 5,000-10,000 pourakarmikas. We have asked local officers to verify the records and identify discrepancies.“