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Deputation cloud on master plan

The dependence on two assistant architects on deputation in the absence of a designated town planner has cast a shadow on the urban development and housing department’s assignments, including proposed building byelaws and the master plan for Patna.

The two assistant architects — Harishankar Singh and Kumar Sarwanand — of the building construction department have been on deputation in the urban development and housing department for around four years. Their parent department’s wish to take them back after two architects took voluntary retirement could derail the plans of the urban development and housing department, which has written to the chief secretary seeking extension of the duo’s deputation by at least six months.

“If Harishankar and Sarwanand are removed, another person would either be taken on deputation from some other department or fresh appointment would be made. Either of these would take time and delay the finalisation of the master plan for Patna and building byelaws,” said a senior officer of the urban development and housing department.

A senior officer of the building construction department, on the other hand, said: “We are executing numerous projects. Besides, two architects in the department recently took voluntary retirement, prompting manpower shortage. Thus, we want Harishankar and Sarwanand back.”

The two assistant architects on lien were assigned the tasks of town planning works apparently because the post of chief town planner and his subordinates, including town planner, associate planner and assistant planner, are vacant in the urban development and housing department for around a decade. R.S. Choudhary, the last serving chief town planner of Bihar retired in August 2004. He claimed that there was complete ignorance in the urban development and housing department about the town planning cell.

“I had taken personal initiative in publishing advertisements in newspapers for the appointment of my successor. But no follow-up was done. Thus, the post is vacant for almost 10 years. The building byelaws have come before the master plan for Patna just because of ignorance. It should ideally have been the other way round,” said Choudhary.

The urban development and housing department’s efforts to retain the two architects notwithstanding, the first meeting of the urban planning and development board on the proposed master plan for Patna and a consultation meeting on building byelaws with builders slated for Tuesday were cancelled.

“The meeting of the board could not be held on Tuesday because of some last-minute changes. It is expected to be held within a fortnight,” said the official.


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