The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Thumbs up, you’re on the job
- Civic body instals card system to monitor staff attendance

In a bid to rein in its truant employees, the Calcutta Municipal Corporation (CMC) has decided to engage private agencies to monitor the attendance of its 45,000-odd civic staff.

The private firms will be responsible for maintaining records of attendance and leave petitions of the employees. The move is aimed at checking employee manipulation in the attendance registers and the tendency among the staff to enjoy extra leave benefits.

Municipal commissioner Debasis Som is slated to inaugurate the first privately-managed attendance monitoring system at the Borough X office in the New Alipore area this week.

“We have wasted enough time trying to introduce a healthy work culture in the Corporation. But as prolonged persuasion and repeated pleas have failed to bring in a change in the system, it is the only option left to us now,” declared mayor Subrata Mukherjee.

Borough X chairman Arup Biswas said that instead of magnetic swipe cards, “contactless biometric cards” would be used to monitor the attendance of about 200 employees in his office. BASE Systems, the private company that has been entrusted with the job, will submit weekly attendance reports to the civic authorities.

According to BASE Systems chief executive officer Rohit Garg, the contactless biometric card system preserves the thumb impression of an employee for constant and instant verifications.

“The employee does not need to swipe his photo-identity card. Just as he displays the photo-identity card before a machine, here the machine will display his card. He has to press a button to register his entry, along with the time. If the thumb impression does not tally with that displayed on the photo-identity card, the screen will show a big cross symbol over the image, signifying that the impression does not belong to the person whose photo is displayed on the identity card,” Garg pointed out.

The contactless Smart Card Reader can work in standalone mode and comes with a local memory. Thus, even when the PC link is down, the Reader registers the attendance and allows access to restricted areas.

“The swipe card will serve no purpose in the CMC,” said the mayor. “It would, rather, offer a golden opportunity to a section of unscrupulous employees to get their cards swiped daily without attending office.”

According to a senior official, controlling officers in each department will keep surveillance on the punctuality of their employees. The CMC attendance registers never kept a track of latecomers.

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