The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Babus clubbed by civic spade
- One sacked, two showcaused for a game of cards at work

The card game, often a way of office life for the ‘busy’ babu, has been dealt a cruel blow by a small civic body.

The Behala municipality has, in a surprise move, initiated disciplinary action against three senior employees for turning a blind eye to the long hours spent by a section of the staff playing cards.

The ‘spoilsport’ municipal civic authorities showcaused, on December 28, two executive engineers and suspended the building caretaker for allowing the “playing of cards with stakes” by a group of employees a week before that date.

The crackdown on the card game came from Calcutta Municipal Corporation secretary Sajal Bhowmick. He is known to have hauled up the senior engineers as they were overseers of the building, to whom the caretaker reported. “After all, they are masters of the house,” he told Metro on Thursday.

On December 20, when Bhowmick visited the office of Borough XIII and XIV with some of his staff after the lunch break, he found some employees engrossed in a game of cards. “It may be a common sight in government offices, but I am not ready to accept it here,” he said.

Borough XIV chairman Anjan Das was in his office with some senior engineers. The municipal secretary marched into his room and demanded an explanation. “I told him it was not possible for me to know what some employees were doing in one corner of the building. Moreover, it is not my duty to keep track of every employee,” Das later said.

Bhowmick then summoned the caretaker of the premises, Bijit Mukherjee, and two executive engineers, Goutam Roy and Bijan Chanda, of Borough XIII and XIV, respectively, and sought an explanation. “As none of them could give a satisfactory reply, we suspended the caretaker and slapped showcause notices on the two engineers,” Bhowmick said.

One of the two engineers showcaused has claimed that the incident took place after office hours. “Besides, why should we be held guilty for what others are doing'” he demanded.

Several employees of Behala municipality are known to be “aggrieved” over the treatment meted out to their senior colleagues for “just a card game”, while a small section has welcomed the first step towards “improving work culture”.

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