63 BMC staff made to 'sit idle' as punishment but get full salaries

Mumbai: An RTI reply to The Municipal Union (civic employees' union) has revealed that a total of 63 BMC employees (inspectors of License department) were paid salaries for sitting idle. For months in the last three years, these 63 employees were made to 'sit idle' in the licence department headquarters in Dadar as punishment but were paid full salaries.

Due to this, the civic body ended up spending Rs 2.27 crore on the salary of these employees for not doing anything. Alleging wastage of manpower and BMC's funds, the Municipal Union has demanded action against officials responsible for this.

Licensing of establishments in Mumbai is done through the Licensing Department of BMC. Unauthorised trading and occupation are inspected through this department. According to the order of the Mumbai High Court, the department also takes action against peddlers/hawkers who are illegally occupying footpaths especially near various places of worship, hospitals, markets, schools and railway stations.

Licensing inspectors and senior inspectors (licenses) are mainly responsible for carrying out this action against the unauthorised occupation in the 24 administrative wards.

"Since 2017 those inspectors accused of waywardness or accused of not performing their duties as directed for seniors were sent the license department headquarters in Dadar. They were then made to sit there the entire day without work. We started getting complaints from various departments about this. On top of this, the administration inducted 12 employees from the shop and establishment department to the licencing department citing a shortage of manpower. When inspectors are sitting without work, employees from other department were brought in. This prompted me to file an RTI query. The reply I received was shocking," said Ramakant Bane, General Secretary of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Employees Union.

As per the RTI reply to Bane, the civic body has revealed that total of Rs 2,27,18,648 was paid to these employees during the period they were punished and made to sit idle/ without work.Bane added, "The administration failed to give me details of work done by these 63 employees, at the same time they gave details of salary paid to them in full. Over 2 crore was paid to these employees under punishment. This is wasting of funds when already the civic body is facing a financial crisis."

A BMC official said, "As a punishment, they could have sent them on unpaid leave, or paid half salaries. A punishment of not doing work and getting paid in full is not a punishment but a boon."

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