Logistics

An unsigned letter splits wide open an inter-departmental fight in Railways

Mamuni Das New Delhi | Updated on January 22, 2018 Published on December 10, 2015

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Had proposal gone through, only engineers would have made it to Railway services

The demand for making Railways an only engineering service remained unheard at the recent Railway Board discussions.

An unsigned letter from section of Railway employees to absorb only those officers who have qualified through Union Public Service Commission’s Engineering Services examination as Group A Railway Officers was taken off the agenda of the Railway Board meeting last week.

Expressing grievance against such a demand, the Group A railway officers selected from the civil services examination, have written to the Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu and Minister of State Manoj Sinha stating that Railways cannot be termed as a project based organisation as it involves the business of providing safe and efficient freight and passenger transportation.

The letter has been signed by Indian Railways Traffic Service, Indian Railways Account Service and Indian Railways Personnel Service. Indian Railways officers from civil, electrical, mechanical and stores come from UPSC’s engineering services.

Prior to the Wednesday board meeting, there was once a verbal discussion on this idea at the Board. But, it was opposed by a non-engineering service member on the premise that such a decision, which concerned the future prospects of many officials, should not be taken by those who are retiring soon.

Following this demand those absorbed from civil services exam have formed Indian Railways Civil Services Officers Association. This effectively means splitting of the railway officers’ association. Group A railway officers in the engineering stream are in the electrical, mechanical, and civil engineering categories.

As part of the railway reforms recommendations, the Debroy committee had called for merging of eight services into two cadres – management and technical. “This proposal probably stems from a feeling that the management cadre will have an upper hand in than the railways,” explained an official.

Officials noted that each of the services were carved out after a need for the same was felt. Even personnel service, which is a nascent cadre, was formed after recommendation of Russi Mody, who was part of Railway reforms committee in late 1970s. Railways, which had some 17 lakh employees at that time, used to have frequent strikes, and it was in this context that Mody pressed for the need to have a HR cadre (personnel service).

mamuni.das@thehindu.co.in

Published on December 10, 2015
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