Shortage of engineers in Palike stymies a City in transition
BBMP waits endlessly for government nod for fresh recruitment
But on the flip side, the City only boasts of a total strength of only 699 engineers to ensure that it is able to meet the aspirations of its people as they go about their life and living. And according to a Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) engineer, there is no move to address this skewed ratio and set right the anomaly on a war footing.
The results of this lack of vision are there to see. Building collapses. Lake encroachments. Solid waste accumulation. Poor road maintenance. The litany of woes that cry for a solution is endless.
In the 21 departments in the BBMP, there are 11 chief engineers, seven superintendent engineers, 80 executive engineers, 180 assistant executive engineers, 352 assistant engineers and 69 junior engineers.
BBMP Commissioner Lakshminarayana concedes that there is a requirement for around 200 engineers. However, he is helpless, as the government’s approval is necessary to recruit them and meet the shortage. “Currently, we manage the works with the engineers we have. Whenever there is a dearth of manpower, we hire private contractors to assist us,” says Lakshminarayana.
But trust the engineers and the general public to buy this argument or facile explanation. Notes an engineer who has his hands full: “Engineers are posted to departments they do not have much knowledge about. This has become a serious problem. They lack skills to tackle issues in a particular field. It is not only on the technical side. There is shortage of staff also in the administration department. All departments will have to co-ordinate. If there is shortage of manpower in one department, then it would have its effect on the other.
Concurs a junior electrical engineer that staff crunch in most departments affects work particularly during rainy season. Numerous public complaints go unaddressed promptly. “This enrages the public who call us inefficient and irresponsible,” he lamented.
Likewise, according to them, senior engineers and officers turn a blind eye, as they are burdened with various other works. Newly appointed engineers find it tough acclimatising themselves to work because there is no structured orientation. Only when they are able to understand their roles and responsibilities can they put up a quality performance, they observe.
“Every time we have problem related to civic issues, we have to chase the BBMP engineers who complain about being burdened with heavy work. Therefore, we have no one attending to our problems,” says a concerned citizen.