Railway zonal head writes to Goyal seeking early filling up of Board posts
New Delhi : Amid the uncertainty and indecisiveness over filling up vacant posts at top level in Indian Railways, a General Manager of a zonal railway, in an unusual move, has written a strong letter to Railway Minister Piyush Goyal and Chairman, Railway Board, Ashwani Lohani, seeking the filling up of Member post in the Railway Board at the earliest.
The letter has highlighted that the top level vacancy is an "administrative deficiency affecting important decisions and follow up of policy decisions besides causing injustice to those in line for elevation".
At present, several crucial posts are lying vacant for months at top level ranging from General Managers to Additional Members to Board Member in Indian Railways for past many months.
According to the latest position, Railway Board Member Rolling Stock (MRS) is lying vacant since August 1, this year. "More than one and half months have passed and this senior level post continues to remain vacant, said the letter written by South Western Railway General Manager, A.K. Gupta.
The delay in posting of MRS is affecting grant of apex grade to Gupta as he is superannuating on September 30 this year.
Additionally, General Manager (GM) North Central Railway is lying unfilled since August 1; GM Western Central Railway since July 1; GM South Eastern Railway since July 20; GM Rail Wheel Factory since July 14 and Director General of National Academy of Indian Railways since June 1 this year.
Besides, five posts of commissioner railway safety are also lying vacant. The post of Chief Commissioner of Railway Safety alongwith Commissioner Railway Safety of Central Railway, Northeast Railway, South Eastern Railway, North Frontier Railway are awaiting posting. Another Additional Member post is also lying vacant for six months.
"I am superannuating on sept 30 after 37 years of service. Upon retirement of previous incumbent Ravindra Gupta on August 31, I ranked seniormost in the mechanical department for elevation to the post of MRS, but with inadequate qualifying service, A.K. Gupta wrote, urging both the Minister and CRB to take action for expeditiously filling up the post of MRS.
"Posting of a regular incumbent junior to me as MRS would make me eligible for Apex grade of the Secretary to Government of India. This is not likely to happen in case the posting is not done before September 30, 2018," the letter stated
The functioning of General Manager and Railway Board Member are crucial for train operations. Delay in all these appointments for unexplained reasons is considered as inexplicable and affects the morale of railway officers.
As per established norms, postings are expected to be processed 1-3 months in advance and orders issued before vacancies arise. The inability to take decision in these cases show "policy paralysis" in Indian Railways, according to old hands in Indian Railways. The delay has deprived many officers of promotion without giving any reason.
(Arun Kumar Das is Delhi-based freelance journalist. H can be contacted at email@example.com)