Wednesday, June 04, 2008

NWSC reeling under human resource crunch

Razen Manandhar
Kathmandu, June 3:

The state-owned Nepal Water Supply Corporation, entrusted with supplying drinking water to 23 cities of the country, is facing a dire situation due to lack of human resources.
After the government carved semi-government institutions out of NWSC — Kathmandu Valley Water Management Board, Upatyaka Khanepali Limited and Nepal Water Tariff Fixation Commission — on February 13, almost half of the its staffers joined these institutions.
District-based staffers previously working for NWSC are now posted in the capital. “The season of water-borne disease has not ended but most of our branches lack technical staffers. Who will be responsible if diseases like cholera outbreak?” questioned an NWSC staffer on condition of anonymity.

Following the outbreak of cholera two weeks ago, nine persons had died in Makawanpur and one in Siraha and over 80 were hospitalised.

Some NWSC branches out of 22 even lack office chiefs and are being run by ad hoc chiefs for three months, since the government announced voluntary retirement schemes. Only 15 chiefs are running 23 offices in districts, leaving many important works pending, he added.

For instance a chief in Butwal has to head three cities — Krishna Nagar, Bhairahawa and Taulihawa. While some branch offices lack engineers, others have been facing shortage of overseers.

“In search of handsome salary and with a hope to live in the capital, some NWSC staffers might have joined KUKL,” he said.

NWSC manager Ram Kumar Yadav admitted that the corporation has been facing crunch of technical officers. “We are short of technical staffers in district branches. Though the workload has been lessened after the formation of KUKL, some NWSC district branches are unable to operate due to staff shortage,” he said.

NWSC general manager Gautam Bahadur Amatya, however, said the corporation is holding talks with its management board to appoint technical staffers on the vacant posts.