How is 'penniless' PMPML giving fat salaries to its staff?
While the civic transport undertaking claims it is suffering losses, workers’ union alleges it is giving excessive remunerations and promotions to around 15 of its officials holding various posts
The Pune Mahanagar Parivahan Mahamandal Ltd (PMPML) cries losses and claims it does not have the funds to go ahead with development projects, but the civic transport body has enough money to spend on unjustified promotions for its staff.
But its workers allege that the organsiation doesn’t hesitate in giving illegal promotions and exorbitant salaries to some of its staff, which includes officials recruited for six months on a temporary basis in 2007, that is, at the time of the PMPML’s inception. These “temps” are, incidentally, still working with the company.
There are some 15 of such officials some of who hold posts such as junior engineer, English or Marathi stenographer, maintenance supervisor, personal assistant and so on.
For these positions, they reportedly draw salaries of more than Rs 40,000 per month, whereas remuneration for similar jobs in other civic departments is not more than Rs 15,000, official sources said. A few other employees have been given generous promotions.
Ashok Jagtap, vice-president of PMPML workers’ union, said, “These officials’ salary ranges between Rs 40,000 and 60,000 per month, and their annual budget goes beyond Rs 1 crore. Every day, our workers bring the organisation cash business of Rs 1.5 crore, and they are not even given salaries on time, let alone increments.
On the other hand, these temporary officials have got tremendous pay hikes, and they are still working with PMPML. We want an inquiry into this long-persisting issue as early as possible. If the administration does not take action, our union will protest.”
Evasive probe efforts
In April 2009, a special meeting had been called by the Pune guardian minister Ajit Pawar, who issued strict orders to the PMPML officials, asking them to probe the reasons behind the promotions and salary hikes. But nothing came of it.
In January 2014, the chief minister’s office (CMO) issued an order to the PMPML administration, asking why an inquiry had not been conducted. Apparently, for the last six years, the transport body has not been able to find an independent agency to carry out an enquiry, even as the officials continue to enjoy plum salaries.
In the last three years, PMPML approached a few IAS officers, asking them if they would do the inquiry, but they did not respond.
Then, inquiry officers at the divisional commissioner’s office were contacted, but they also refused. As a last resort, private inquiry officers like retired officials and lawyers in PMC were contacted for the job, and the PMPML is awaiting their response.
>> Workers say temporary staff hired in 2007 still on payroll
>> They draw salaries way beyond norm; stenographers reportedly get Rs 40k
>> Collective budget of overpaid officials costing organisation over Rs 1 crore yearly
PMPML joint managing director Pravin Ashtikar told mid-day, “Some unions alleged that illegal promotions were done at the time PMPML was formed in 2007. In this case, we cannot do a departmental inquiry, so it was necessary to get a third party. Hence, a decision was taken at the PMPML board meeting to conduct an inquiry by an outside agency.