The East Delhi Municipal Corporation has decided to mark employees absent and deduct their salaries from January 1, 2018, if they do not use their Aadhaar numbers and fingerprints to register attendance, The Times of India reported on Monday.

The civic body has distributed Aadhaar-verified biometric attendance machines among supervisors to record attendance of all staff. Every staff member will have to mark attendance twice a day – when they report to work in the morning and when they leave in the evening. Deputy Commissioner of Police (IT cell) Atik Ahmad said 700 machines had been distributed and around 14,000 employees had already registered.

“We can now monitor our human resources better,” East Delhi Municipal Corporation Commissioner Ranbir Singh told The Times of India. “In the morning, we will be able to see how many workers have reported to work in different areas.”

Unidentified municipal officials told the daily that the current manual attendance system is misused by many workers. “Some of the workers mark attendance for three-four days on one day,” an official said. “The practice is unacceptable but there is no system to check it. It also affects our services.”

Many Resident Welfare Associations in Delhi have also complained about the absence of sanitation workers who allegedly disappear after signing the register.

But some sanitation workers say the nature of their work means the biometric machine is unable to register their fingerprints. “I am a sincere worker. Why should I lose my salary?” Ashok Kumar, a sanitation worker from Kalyanpuri area, said.

“The machine should also read the eyes and not only fingerprints,” Sanjay Gahlot, the president of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi’s Swachhta Karamchari Union said.