KOLKATA, 27 JUNE: The Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) is a great leveller: it is a place where an MSc or an MBA can be found sitting with someone who has cleared only his school final examinations in the same job and at the same pay scales.
The peculiar state of affairs results from the KMC promoting employees to levels of deputy manager and above for which no departmental examinations are held but insisting on high academic qualification when outside candidates are taken in.
For external candidates the minimum qualification is graduation and the written examination and subsequent interview are taken by the Municipal Service Commission.
The KMC recently published a list of 99 employees who have been promoted as deputy managers.
It is amazing that 15 deputy managers have cleared only the school final examination.
This has created a flutter in the KMC where employees are demanding that there should be departmental examinations for promotion.
It may be recalled that the then municipal commissioner, Mr Asim Barman, had tried to introduce departmental examinations for promotion, which, however, could not be implemented due to stiff resistance from the unions.
Mr Barman also began a week-long residential training programme for the employees at the Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Joka.
However, this was stopped by the authorities in 2010 after the Trinamul Congress board took over, stating that such programmes are not of much use.
When contacted senior officials of Personnel department said it was never felt that those who joined the KMC as clerks required training as they gathered experience with the passage of time and when promoted they did their job satisfactorily.
This, however, is not the opinion of those who had joined the KMC after being selected by the Municipal Service Commission.
One of the direct recruits who has become a deputy manager said: "Changes are taking place so fast in administration that intense training is required for upgrade. But an employee who has just passed school final or Madhyamik examination often finds the training difficult. This affects the administration badly."
Three former municipal commissioners who had tried to infuse work culture in KMC said: "The KMC should immediately do away with the age-old-system of promoting its employees who are under-qualified."
Though the civic authorities do not agree, rate payers allege that there is inordinate delay in clearing files and the pace of work has slowed down.