Saturday, October 27, 2012

Blame game begins over delay in salary of civic body worker

NEW DELHI, October 27, 2012

The bank in which a civic body worker who allegedly attempted suicide earlier this month holds an account has denied any responsibility for the delay in wages that caused him to take the extreme step.

A visit to the bank's branch in North Delhi's Azadpur Village revealed that Dharmender Kumar's account had, in fact, not been credited three months' salary on the date he attempted to take his life despite the civic body claiming the entire amount had already reached him.

On October 15, The Hindu had reported that the 39-year-old domestic breeding checker in the Civil Lines zone had consumed insecticide after a visit to the bank revealed a delay in his salary payments for several months. Following the incident, North Delhi Mayor Mira Aggarwal blamed the delay on technical problems faced by Mr. Kumar's bank in processing the salary via the electronic clearance system (ECS).

However, branch officials say the ECS system ensures that settlement is made the same day provided funds are available in the account from which the transfer is made.

An officer at the bank said: "ECS is a quick method of transferring funds between one bank and another. If they [MCD] are submitting ECS, we will credit the balance on the same day. If there is no balance in the account, then there will be a delay. The bank is in no way responsible for the delay. Why will we hold up the payment?"

While bank officials have claimed a "same day payment system," Mr. Kumar's passbook records contradict the salary details furnished by the civic body for the period May 16 to September 15.

Passbook entries show that for the period (May 16 to June 15) his account was credited on August 6 (NDMC's records showed August 1), salary for the period June 16 to July 15 is yet to be credited (NDMC's records show it was credited on September 4), salary for the period July 16 to August 15 was credited on October 20 (NDMC's records shows two dates on October 4 and 15) and for the period August 16 to September 15 it was credited on October 25 (NDMC's records show it was credited on October 11).

Responding to the anomaly in the records, Ms. Aggarwal said that some of the domestic breeding checkers were paid from funds released by Delhi Government. "Some of the domestic breeding checkers are paid from funds released by Delhi Government under its plan head. The delay could be because we did not receive the funds on time. Only when we receive the funds, can we forward it to the workers," she said.

As for Mr. Kumar, he is worried how he is going to repay the debt of Rs.10,000, which he took in June, with such unpredictable wages. "I am yet to return Rs.6,500, which I am sure has incurred an interest amount by now. The problem is we never know when we will get out salaries every month so it is difficult to plan anything. I continue to do this job thinking some day my work will be regularised and I will have access to benefits."

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