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Biometric leash on Nabanna babus
- New attendance system in all 11 departments to record entry and exit times

Calcutta, Nov. 22: Babus, coming late to work will no longer be the thumb rule.

Come 2014, employees at Nabanna, the new state secretariat in Howrah where 11 departments have been shifted, will have to enter office by 10.15am and stay at least till 5.15pm.

A biometric attendance system will be installed at Nabanna on January 1. Employees will have to place their thumbs on machines that will record their entry and exit times. The machines will be installed in all 11 departments.

For every three delayed entry and early departure in a month without valid reasons, one casual leave will be deducted.

Now, employees put their arrival and departure time while signing on the attendance register.

The January 1 deadline for introducing the biometric attendance system was set in a meeting between chief secretary Sanjay Mitra and the secretaries of the 11 departments at Nabanna this evening.

“The chief secretary made it clear that all 11 departments will have to introduce the biometric system by January 1. This is a bold step,” a departmental secretary said.

The plan to introduce the biometric attendance system was first mooted by the Left Front government in 2001, when Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee had proposed the step to improve work culture at Writers’ Buildings.

The plan could not be implemented because of stiff resistance from the Co-ordination Committee, the CPM-backed association of government employees.

Sources said chief minister Mamata Banerjee told officials not to worry about resistance from unions and go ahead with the biometric attendance system.

According to officials who attended today’s meeting, personnel and administrative secretary A.R. Bardhan has been given the responsibility of putting in place the new system.

“The personnel and administrative department will float the tender to procure the system,” an official said.

Senior officials said the move was initiated after it was found that many employees were coming late to office and leaving early since the secretariat was shifted from Writers’ to Nabanna on October 5.

The public works department videographed the area around the lifts immediately after the shift and found most of the 1,200-odd employees standing in queues between 10.45am and 11.30am. The official entry time is 10am and a grace period of 15 minutes is offered, a senior PWD official said.

Initially, the government had relaxed the reporting time of employees considering the transport problem and the long average waiting time in front of the lifts.

“But the practice continued even after the pace of the lifts was enhanced and more buses were provided from various parts of Calcutta to Nabanna. The only way to curb delayed attendance is to install a system that cannot be tampered with,” a secretary said.

Senior officials said this would be the first time the biometric attendance system would be introduced in so many departments together. Last year, the health and backward classes welfare department had installed such a system.