KATHMANDU, August 9: It has been found that around 600 daily-wage and temporary employees on contract are working at a single public office under the federal government at a time when the provincial and local governments are facing an acute shortage of manpower. That government office is none other than the Department of Urban Development and Building Construction (DUDBC) located at Babarmahal.
According to the administration section of the DUDBC, the Department has employed 169 people on contract and another 400 on daily wages, without any study or homework on the need for such staffers. However, the number of permanent positions at the DUDBC is only 486. According to the administration section, there are 744 temporary posts. The officials of the administration section say that employees have been hired on contract and that the chiefs of the projects under the DUDBC hire other employees on the basis of daily wages as and when they feel the ‘need’.
DUDBC Director General Ramchandra Dangal admitted that around 600 employees are working on contract and daily-wage basis at the Department. “They are also Nepali citizens. A whole family is dependent on one person," said Dangal, "The employees on contract earn their living by working at the office. Therefore, it is our policy not to remove employees to the extent possible.” He also said that removing employees who have been working on contracts for a long time will also affect the performance of the Department. Deputy Director General Chakrawarty Kanth said that because permanent employees are not enough to supervise and observe the construction work, there is an obligation to keep employees on contracts and daily wages. He said, "We have kept them based on the need, not under pressure from anyone."
According to sources, some employees have been working on contract for as long as the past 15 years. An employee working on contract said, "Permanent employees tend to make contract employees work instead of working themselves." He said, “Who will listen to the injustice done to us?” There are 16 offices under the Department. Every year, the Department sends a proposal to the Council of Ministers for the approval of hiring temporary employees. After the Cabinet passes the proposal, the department recruits employees on the basis of contract. The renewal of the contracts of old staffers is done in August every year.
Only the project chiefs have the right to hire employees on contract and temporary employees. According to an employee of the administration section, notices are not issued to hire employees on contracts and that such employees are hired based on applications. The employee said, "Once we tried to hire by issuing a notice, but the process became more complicated and impractical."
Another employee of the administration section said, "All the 16 office units under the Department have contracted and daily-wage employees." The total number of daily-wage employees has reached 400. According to the department, a total of 169 employees including 20 engineers, one sociologist, eight sub-engineers, 48 computer operators, three assistant computer operators, three social mobilizers, 33 light vehicle drivers, 39 office assistants, and four sweepers are employed at the Department.
Similarly, two engineers, six computer operators, two light vehicle drivers and four office assistants are employed at the Integrated Urban Infrastructure Development Project Coordination Office. Likewise, there are four employees including two computer operators, one light vehicle driver and one office assistant at the Urban Planning and Development Center and there are a total of 17 people including six engineers, one information technology officer, five computer operators, three light vehicle drivers and two office assistants at the Building Code Government Building (including auditorium) project coordination office. There are six such employees at the Kathmandu Valley Waste Management Project Unit office including two computer operators, one community operator, one light vehicle driver, and two office assistants.
Similarly, there are four people under contract at the Safe Civil Housing Project Coordination Office, including two computer operators, one light vehicle driver, and one office assistant.
Similarly, at the Urban Planning Corridor Project Coordination Office, there are a total of six such employees including one engineer, three computer operators, one light vehicle driver and one office assistant while there are 18 such employees at the New Town Project Coordination Office including four engineers, one sociologist, one sub-engineer, six computer operators, three light vehicle drivers and three office assistants. A total of 17 such employees including four engineers, three computer operators, one assistant computer operator, four light vehicle drivers, and five office assistants are under contract at the Regional Urban Development Project Office.
Similarly, the Special Building Construction Project Coordination Office has employed a total of 15 people including three sub-engineers, four computer operators, two assistant computer operators, three light vehicle drivers, and two office assistants.
Immediate Past Urban Development Minister Ramkumari Jhankri said that she has received information that a large number of technical staff are working at the building department on contract and daily wage basis. She said that it is not good to have a large number of employees based on contracts and daily wages working in the same office. She also said that she had started restructuring the Department to reduce the number of such employees during her term.