Even as the government draws up large-scale development plans, its implementing agency, the Calcutta Metropolitan Development Authority (CMDA), is poised to don a streamlined look with an amalgamate-and-axe approach. The restructuring committee of the Calcutta Metropolitan Planning Committee (CMPC) has proposed winding up of the municipal development programme (MDP) sector, with personnel to be deployed with the municipal affairs department and various urban local bodies under the CMDA.
The committee, comprising officials from the state urban development and finance departments, and the CMDA, has also recommended amalgamation of the sewerage and drainage (S&D) and the Ganga action plan (GAP) sectors. It has also proposed renaming the gas distribution network system (GDNWS) as housing sector and drawing personnel from sectors “partially engaged in the housing activities”, like the shelter, urban renewal and area development and bustee improvement sectors of the CMDA.
CMDA has 10 sectors in its technical wing. “Of these, GAP, MDP and GDNWS are project-specified, while two of these, MDP and GDNS, have lost their specific requirements,” the recommendation states.“The committee noticed that a highly disproportionate number of posts exist under the accounts and administrative wings. The committee feels that the total number of posts in these two wings should not exceed one-third of the total strength of the organisation,” the report adds. Out of the CMDA’s total staff strength of 4,102 in January 2002, the accounts and administrative wings had 2,060 on the rolls.
The committee also observed that in the engineering and planning wings, many senior officials will be retiring within the next five to 10 years, and so “to maintain structural equilibrium”, a hunt for qualified senior personnel must be launched.
Urban development minister Asok Bhattacharya, however, claimed that no action is being taken on the basis of these recommendations. “We are yet to accept them,” Bhattacharya clarified. On the recommendation that the MDP sector be wound up, he said: “Some engineers of the sector who did not have much work are being attached to the various urban local bodies since last year.”
The CMDA employees’ unions have criticised the recommendations. “With so many plans in the pipeline, it is not prudent to attach CMDA’s technical people to urban local bodies,” a union member said.