Populist 12-hr shift running out of gear

Just a couple of weeks after the announcement, the 12-hour shift introduced in government offices to deal with urgent services seems to have proved futile.

Most offices including land revenue, survey and electricity have already unofficially stopped providing extra hours of service citing chilly weather, lack of facilities and absence of coordination among government offices.

“Why should we come to office at 6:00 am when there is no electricity, no additional perks and no presence of service seekers till 10:30 am,” an employee at Chabahil-based Land Revenue Office, asked.

The Survey Department office in Kalanki also opened at 9:30 am yesterday. “Our office did not get service seekers before 10:30 am though it opened at 6:00 am last week,” said a female employee who said it was too early for both service seekers and providers.

Ram Tamang of Sindhupalchowk reached the Bagmati Zonal Office of Department of Transport Management in Ekantakuna, Lalitpur to get a driving licence on Wednesday at around 6:00 am, but he returned as there was no one at work.

“I had to return as officials failed to manage the licence test citing lack of rooms,” he said, adding that DoTM had only one room with a capacity of 60 people per shift and had failed to manage the day’s crowd.

Chief district officers in the Valley have also noticed that the latest move to expedite service delivery had failed. “A few offices do pull their shutters up a bit early in the morning, but it is just for the sake of opening shop. Others open after 9:00 am,” said Lalitpur CDO Yadav Prasad Koirala, who finds the 12-hour shift highly impractical.

Ek Narayan Aryal, Kathmandu CDO, also said his office received a very few visitors in the extra hours. “Lack of infrastructure and facilities ranging from electricity and transport to other perks are some of the hurdles,” he said.

According to stakeholders, the problem is not with timing, it’s all about nepotism, bribe, fraud, corruption and favouritism. “If officials change their mentality and provide dynamic service, they don’t need to come to office at 6:00 am or be there for 12 hours,” they said.

Offices including district administration, land revenue, transport, electricity, land survey and reform were to start the 12-hour shift in seven districts.

Source: THT