The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Swipe card registers civic house success

Goodbye attendance registers, welcome swipe cards. Encouraged by the positive response to the computerised attendance recording system, introduced in June for the first time at the Tollygunge office of Borough X, mayor Subrata Mukherjee has decided to phase out attendance registers from all Calcutta Municipal Corporation (CMC) establishments.

In the first month of its operation, more than 50 per cent of civic employees at the Tollygunge office were found to have arrived late. “Before the computerised attendance recording system came into effect, most employees used to attend office on time only four days a month. Hence, I think there has been a marked improvement,” mayor Mukherjee said.

Of 70 employees, 19 were marked absent for reaching office after the scheduled arrival time allowance. “For the first time, civic employees were marked absent for the day if they came in late,” pointed out Borough X chairman Arup Biswas.

Usual working hours in all CMC offices are between 10.30 am and 5 pm. Under the bio-metric attendance recording system of the CMC, an employee is considered absent for the day if he reaches office after 10.45 am. Similarly, leaving office before 4.45 pm is marked as “early departure”. About 23 per cent of civic employees were found to have left office at least 30 minutes before the scheduled office hours. Only 18 of the 70 employees — accounting for about 25.7 per cent — were found to have attended office on time. They never left before the office hours.

But the record for the first month has not been entirely foolproof. For instance, the arrival and departure timings of employee Tarun Das revealed certain inconsistencies.

According to data stored in the computers, Das came to office at 5 pm on the first day the system started operating and did not turn up for duty for the next five days. He attended office for 15 days in June and, for 13 days out of that, his arrival time had been recorded between 9.52 am and 10.16 am. The computer also failed to record his departure time for six days in June, as he did not swipe his card while leaving office.

“Such things happen when a system is introduced,” a civic official said. “But gradually, things get better. We hope the system will run smoothly in a short while.”

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