Top-level positions in Railways lie vacant

Santanu Sanyal Kolkata | Updated on June 24, 2013

Ever since Mamata Banerjee stepped down as the Railway Minister in 2011, the Railway Ministry has come to be headed by stop-gap Ministers. It started with Dinesh Trivedi then Mukul Roy, followed by C. P. Joshi, Pawan Bansal, again C. P. Joshi, none completing even one full year, and now Mallikarjun Kharge. 

Dinesh Trivedi had the longest term (July 2011 to March 2012) and Joshi, the shortest, two terms (September to October 2012 and May to June 2013) totalling a little more than two months. One wonders if there will be further changes between now and the declaration of the Lok Sabha election dates.

Interestingly, the same stop-gap arrangement also persists in respect of several top level positions in the Railways. Of seven members of the Railway Board, two positions, Member (Traffic) and Member (Staff), have been lying vacant for nearly two months now. While the Chairman, Railway Board, is himself handling the portfolio of Member (Traffic), the Member (Engineering), is handling the portfolio of Member (Staff) as an additional charge. More important, Chairman and Financial Commissioner, both board-level positions, are due to retire on June 30. Their successors are yet to be named.

Four out of 26 positions of General Managers across various zonal railways and production units of the Railways are vacant and at least one of them, the position of GM in Metro Rail, Kolkata, has been vacant for nearly a year now. The GM of West Bengal-based Chittaranjan Locomotives, a production unit, has been handling the portfolio of GM of Metro Rail as an additional charge.

The GM positions in three other zonal railways have been lying vacant since April/early May. These are South East Central Railway (SECR), Western Railway (WR) and Central Railway (CR). The GM of East Coast Railway is looking after SECR as an additional charge. Similarly, the GM of North Western Railway is looking after WR and the GM of Diesel Locomotive Works, Varanasi, a production unit, CR as additional charge.

The positions of two more GMs in South Eastern Railway, Kolkata, and Integral Coach Factory, Perambur, are to fall vacant from July 1. Inquiries reveal that the panel of names for positions of GMs sent for approval has been returned by the appropriate authorities. In other words, ad hocism will continue.  

Published on June 24, 2013

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