Govt backtracks on unpopular access control system at Secretariat

Access control system will treat employees like hostages, alleged employees' unions.

Thiruvananthapuram: The Kerala Government has gone back on its decision to implement the initially planned access control system at the Secretariat following protests from various unions. The move was aimed at preventing employees from leaving office during working hours. 

Earlier, it was proposed to set up the access control system and to link it with salary distribution software ‘SPARK’ from April 1. In that case, one can enter or leave the building only by swiping cards at various entry points. However, the government withdrew from the same at the last minute following the objection by various employees’ unions. 

The proposed measure will amount to making the employees hostages. Since the bio-metric punching system will be linked to SPARK, the employees will lose their salary even if they leave the office for official purposes, argued employees’ unions. 

“Now the access control system will be used only for security purposes and installed at the main entry points only,” sources said.

A new access card will be now used, instead of the current one used for punching, for security purposes.

The entrance door will open only after one does the biometric punching. The employees have to do the punching again to come out of the building.

The aborted proposal
The office timing is from 10.15 am to 5.15 pm. The decision was to install the system at all blocks and offices of the Secretariat. This means that an employee entering the building can go outside only during the lunch break. The unions cited that even the employees who go from one block to another for official purposes will lose their salaries. 

The decision to implement the access control system was taken during the reign of the first Pinarayi Vijayan Government (2016-21). A whopping Rs 1.97 crore was spent to purchase the equipment.

As per the proposal, if an employee returns only after half an hour, the system will show that he/she didn’t work for such period, and they have to submit sufficient reasons for the ‘absence’. 

However, the Government has gone back from its decision to implement the bio-metric punching system and decided to continue with the system in the wake of the strong protest from the unions.

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