The Mamata Banerjee government has decided to introduce hidden cameras to record the ins and outs of employees in government offices to ensure they reach by 10.30am.
The pilot project will be tried in the new year at the West Bengal Essential Supplies Corporation.
The CCTVs have already been installed. Operation will begin from February 1.
Attendance has always been a prickly issue with government employees. Many staff walk in late by simply signing in. Those who sneak out before closing time have evolved any number of smart tricks, including leaving their spectacles or bag on their table to feign that they are around and will return later.
Food minister Jyotipriya Mullick will be monitoring the attendance registration.
Last year, on a strike on February 28, there was tampering of the attendance register in the agriculture directorate at Writers' Building. Some staff were absent in spite of orders to attends office, and when a headcount was ordered, the page for February 28 was missing.
Last month, the state government had issued a notification of marking employees late if they failed to turn up by 10.30am. Departmental secretaries were asked to conduct surprise checks to ensure timely attendance, but the system was not foolproof.
Now, the government also plans to install fingerprint readers to record the time an employee logs in and logs out of office.
The food minister said, "The CCTVs and the finger-print readers would make the system foolproof."
The chief secretary of West Bengal has also asked secretaries heading the departments to conduct surprise checks to ensure that employees in their respective department reach office on time. The personnel and administrative reforms department has already issued an order saying that the attendance register must be sent to the secretary.
The employees unions owing allegiance to opposition parties said similar circulars were issued 14 times during the Left Front's regime and twice by the new government.
However, even today, the measures seem to have little impact on habitual latecomers.