Multi-skilled workers soon in state sector -Business Times Sunday
Posted on March 6th, 2017
Dr Sarah Obeysekera
Concerned about public discontent over the delivery of services, the Government is undertaking an immediate review of public sector staff in government offices.
I have a story to tell about this,
It is also concerning the attitude and the performance of Private and Public Sector Employees and well as employers .I have bought a house few years back in an area where many residencies have been converted to Business Premises in a quite after area .As the construction of the house may have been done before even Urban Development Act was not in existence , I did neither get an Approved Drawings by UDA nor COC ( certificate of conformity) to show whether it is for Residential Purpose or Business Premises .As I did not want to live in that house and travelled abroad I rented the house to a company and they are occupying the premises many years and very high commercial rates for ( Colombo Municipal Council ) CMC is being paid which is over 10 times for business premises .Then I get a letter from UDA who has claims that I should convert the use of the premises from residential from Residential Business and produce the CMC approved Drawings and COC .Otherwise I was to pay over 500,000 Rs as a penalty .
I explained to them that I am paying the rates applicable for Business use of over 250,000 rest per annum .UDA did not want to accept my explanation and threatened to go to courts and shut and get a court order and shut the place down (it is not a eating place but an office of a foreign company doing much work in Sri Lanka.
I inquired from and they have no copies of CMC or approved drawings or COC and I have to spend another one minion to an architect to re draw the plans and submit the CMC and go through the process!
Then I get a Red Letter indicating the UDA they by 6th March they will shut the place down! I sent a letter to Legal D-vision of UDA and ask for a form to apply again and did not get a reply
I went back to UDA on Friday and approached the Enforcement division (People call it GESTAPO- for readers who do not know that it is like the State funded enforcement division under Nazis? ) and offered to pay the penalty as it will be stressful situation form ,Head of the division who I know as I was running a state corporation many years back at 9 a, sharp and the head was not in the office and a meeting of various other officers were having a meeting I knocked and opened the door and inquired where about of the Head and they initially were not happy that I barged in and told me that she is in a meeting at 9 am
I was standing there asking then who can I approach to solve my problem .They looked through a glass installed in the office of the head (May be to “enforce “the discipline as Head can see who is working or not?) and told me to find one person at the far end of the office –just a clerk ) I showed my letter of demand by UDA and she said that I have to go to legal division of UDA which is about ¼ of mile within UDA building in another floor ) Only solace I had was when I went into the office the legal officer who wrote me the letter of demand to whom I sent my request asking for forms because I was away from the country ) .He asked me to wait outside and shouted at someone to bring the file and a young lady came to me asked for details to locate the file ) After about 10 minutes file was brought in. ( in this country claiming that we are so developed and computerised files should have been used )
Again to my luck I was recognised by the officer and spoke to politely ( to my surprise to hear from a “Gestapo” styled Authority asked me to write a letter that I agree to pay the penalty .I had again go back to Enforcement Division and wait until the “mighty pion “ brings the file. I went back again walking `1/4 of a mile and found that it has not reached the subject clerk in the Enforcement Division and asked me to go back to Legal division
Went back to legal division and asked the young lady about the “where about “of the files and she asked me to pay Rs 2100 rupees as Legal fee (for sending me a letter??) And unless I pay that she will not send the file back to Enforcement Division and wrote a manual invoice .I had to walk another ¼ mile to cashier and pay the fee to cove the paperwork!
I produced the receipt and she asked the “mighty Betel chewing “Pion to hand carry the file to the enforcement division.
Now it is 10 30 and Tea time .Pion was making tea and told the lady that he has to go around the office and pour tea to each and every officer) may be around 15) in the division declined to take the files as the tea will get cold and he has to finish that task (I mean multi task!)
I waited for another 15 minutes and went back with him to the destination, There was a clerk (with lot of lipstick and hairdo) .and asked her to give the file to the subject clerk and she was rude and told me to wait in the lobby until I am called
There were many in the “OPD” of the Enforcement Division where many were waiting until that meeting was over to meet relevant officers
I had to wait for 15 minutes and the subject clerk called my perused the file and slammed a 1.3 million Rs penalty for using the premises as an office
I was quite taken back and asked for redress but I was politely refused .I had to go back to same cashier with an Invoice of 500.000 Rs and spent some time because cashier was having a delayed tea!
I paid it and rushed back to Enforcement Division to hand over the payment receipt to subject clerk and rushed to CMC to inquire how to change the “use” from residential to Commercial.
I knew it will be the Lunch time and headless CMC will keep me another half a day ,hence I opted to go back to office losing ½ of the day trying to figure out how the concept of “ multi-tasking “ can be implemented when the “single task “ entrusted to people cannot be dome effectively ?
Then I heard about the other news about UDA trying to take back approval powers given to Local Authorities will be taken back to Centralise rather than Decentralising .I thought how can we develop with such attitudes?
Minister of Mega polis should walk around the sprawling offices and inquire how efficient people are before trying to Centralise
Recently HE the President imposed a relaxing rule that officers do not have to wear a tie and another rule that ladies should not were sleeveless saree jackets .Is it what we need at this hour ?
We need a Private Sector attitude imposed in State Sector by placing heads who can implement a program to improve Single Task Efficiency
Now I have another daunting task with CMC during this week
Good luck to me
Dr Sarah Obeysekera