More than 4,000 samples are waiting for tests as the Forensic Science Laboratory in Ranchi continues to grapple with acute manpower crunch.
Against the sanctioned strength of 150, the facility, which is integral to solving criminal cases, is run by five persons — two scientific assistants and three ‘reporters’. It has no senior laboratory assistant, senior clerk, laboratory attendant and peon among others.
Hopes are also dim for a full house anytime in the near future because a recruitment advertisement published by the home department in January sought only 79 candidates instead of 145. The last date for applications was February 28, while interviews will begin from April 1.
Insiders are keeping fingers crossed for All Fool’s Day. “Every day, eight to 10 reminders come for the lab director from various courts. But, he is helpless. On an average, 10 samples are received from various parts of the state and less than half are tested given the staff strength,” said a source.
Director Ramashankar Singh said manpower requisition had been sent to the Staff Selection Commission and, if everything went according to order, the lab will be better equipped within four months.
“Eligible candidates will have to appear for written exam and interview. These will be conducted by a recruitment agency and we have no role to play,” he said.
On how long it might take to clear the backlog, Singh said they might be able to do it in a year’s time after the recruitment process was over.
Home secretary N.N. Pandey claimed once the recruitment drive was completed, the lab would be overcrowded. “There should be not problem at all,” he stressed.
Insiders remain sceptical. “The state has advertised for posts, but not adequately. For instance, there are three reporters (who are the signing authorities before reports are sent to court) against a sanctioned number of 66. Yet, no fresh applications have been invited for this post,” a source said.