Darjeeling, Oct. 27: The GNLF-controlled Darjeeling Municipality has got embroiled in controversy over charges of nepotism in filling up vacancies, flouting prescribed government procedures.
The alleged discrepancies have come to light following a mysterious letter posted to PDF chairman Madan Tamang. The letter is accompanied by minutes of the meeting of the chairman in council held on September 20, in which the appointments were approved by the board.
While the board has allegedly appointed the son of a municipal commissioner as a chowkidar in Municipal Boys’ High School here, it has also extended the favour to the husband of another commissioner for the post of a peon in the despatch section. The cousin of a third commissioner has also bagged a similar job. The post of the chairman’s orderly has been similarly given to the driver of a commissioner while the daughter-in-law of a senior GNLF commissioner has allegedly bagged a peon’s post in the tax department, the letter alleged.
All these posts fall under the Rs 2,600-Rs 4,175 income bracket, along with other admissible allowances, and the appointments are supposed to come into effect from Octotber 5. All these candidates have been put on a probation period of 24 months.
The appointment of a compounder at Ghoom Martin Dispensary has also come under the scanner. The post has allegedly been bagged by the candidate who had the commissioner’s support. This, however, is on a contractual basis for a period of one year with a consolidated pay of Rs 3,150.
Revealing the contents of the letter at a newsmeet today, Tamang said: “Since the letter is about redressing the public’s grievances, we have decided to pursue it seriously. We will immediately write to the district magistrate, the state vigilance department, the chief minister and the municipality affairs minister and seek a clarification and an inquiry on the issue.”
The chairman in council meeting in question was attended by B.B. Dewan and B.M. Subba (Limboo) — the chairman and the vice-chairman of the civic body.
When contacted on the issue, Limboo admitted that vacancies in various departments had been filled up recently. “Normally we do not seek a call from the employment exchange for filling up Group-D posts,” he said.
Limboo clarified that the practice was in place to ensure that senior casual workers got preference.