Consequent to the introduction of Panchayati Raj Act 1994 and Municipal Act 1994, the Government introduced a system of decentralization of powers by which certain powers and functions that have been carried out by PWD, Irrigation Departments and Water Authority were transferred to Local Self Government Institutions. The Engineering Wing of LSGD started functioning since 2003. Committee of Decentralisation of Powers had given detailed recommendations on the development of Engineering Cadre to local governments to cope with the functional responsibilities transferred to them. As per the order GO (MS) No 253/2007/LSGD dated 13/11/2007, Government decided to create a permanent engineering cadre for the Local Self Government Department. This new wing came into existence with effect from 01/01/2008 under a Chief Engineer. This wing has been formed from pooling staff from Public Works Department (1415 Nos), Water Resource Department (1575 Nos), Municipal Common Service (948 Nos), Panchayath Department (40 Nos) & Rural Development Board (Defunct) & PIUs (184 Nos). Engineering Service Special Rule & Subordinate Service Rules were formed for LSGD Engineering Wing in the year 2007.
The main objective of LSGD Engineering Wing is to assist the Local Self Government Institutions, namely Urban Local Bodies like the Corporations and Municipalities and three tier Rural Local Bodies like District/ Block/ Grama Panchayaths, in implementing various infrastructure related works and also to execute the works under the scheme of Pradan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY). Since the formation of this wing, LSGIs are able to effectively implement various projects as per people’s need in a time bound manner. People got their dream projects implemented at the Local body level itself. Kerala is the best example for successful implementation of Decentralisation.
Since its creation in 2007, the Local Self Government Department Engineering wing is carrying out various projects and today the department is capable of dealing with new developmental challenges successfully. The engineering wing is carrying out various types of projects such as construction and maintenance of roads, buildings, bridges, waste management schemes and water supply schemes. It is the responsibility of the Engineering Wing to assist the local bodies in giving building permits in accordance with KPBR and KMBR and issuing fitness certificates for schools and other buildings. The wing also helps the local bodies to implement the MGNREGS Works effectively.
The present strength of the wing including technical and ministerial staff is 5121. Presently, the department is headed by two Chief Engineers; one is the administrative head of the department; the other is responsible for the centrally sponsored rural road project namely, PMGSY. LSGD Engineering Wing is implementing various e-Governance applications for performing its various functions. The department is using various software applications for Project Formation, Estimate Preparation, Tendering and Payment of work bills which helps to ensure transparency and speedy implementation of works. Various other application softwares like online building permit application and Asset data collection of the Local Self Government Institutions etc are also used.
The Kerala PWD manual, the key manifest that outlines the functioning of the State Public Works Department, is considered as the standard guidelines manual in LSGD also. For public works, the rates and specifications adopted in LSGD are CPWD Specifications and Delhi Schedule of Rates for buildings, MoRD and MoRTH specifications for roads and bridges. The adoption of these specifications enables the use of modern techniques and technologies in the public work and enhances the quality of the construction works.