CRB selection, pursuits frame up

The recent Railway Bribery scandal involving Minister’s relatives to corner creamy assignment is just the tip of the iceberg. Corruption in top Rly appointments has been encouraged by the spineless Bureaucracy, who instead of guiding the Minister appropriately by putting up proposals for ACC appointments based on the correct interpretation of ACC approved policy guidelines and precedence, twist the rules or misinterpret the rules to favour individuals bidding the highest. Last two CRBs i.e Vivek Sahai and Vinay Mittal have specially abdicated their responsibility to the nation in this context by playing a ball with the political masters. Vivek Sahai as CRB kept Member Traffic’s post vacant for almost 18 months so that he could handle the additional charge of MT while working as CRB and manipulate the system for his and his political masters gain. Vinay Mittal did not process the proposal for MEs appointment for almost two and a half months after Shri A. P. Mishra retired for reasons now in public domain.

Soon after the Bribery scandal, Ministry of Railways have issued a press release publicising the ACC approved policy for appointment of Members/Rly Board and Chairman Rly Board. The policy lays down unequivocally that As per the tenure linked norms, an officer is eligible for appointment as a Member of the Railway Board if he fulfills the twin conditions of having worked as General Manager of an Open Line Railway, i.e. General Manager (Open Line), for a period of one year and has a balance tenure of two years of service on the date of occurrence of the vacancy. The officer should also be clear from vigilance angle.

Therefore, it is not understood as to why Shri Kulbhushan Member Electrical is aiming to be CRB when he does not have a residual tenure of 2 years on 1st July 2013 after Shri Mittal superannuates on 30th June. Shri Kulbhushan lays down office on 31st July 2014. Further, he became Member Electrical/Rly Board on 16 August 2011 when he had not completed 1 year as GM/OL as he was appointed as GM/CR in October 2010 thus norms were relaxed for him. In addition, he became Member Electrical grabbing the plum post superseding his 1 year senior Shri A. K. Vohra who was appointed as Member Staff the so called dry assignment. This indicates the rot set in making top level appointments in Railways. Ironically, Shri Mittal became CRB due to PMO’s intervention strictly observing the compliance of the twin norms whereas the proposal from the then ex.MR shri Mukul Roy was for Sanjiv Handa who was senior to Mr Mittal but did not have a residual tenure of 2 years.

So, the road ahead for the Govt. would be to walk the talk and contain further collateral damage. The scenario as on 1st July would be that Shri R. S. Virdi, GM/NFR would be the seniormost officer who would be fulfilling the twin norms and Shri A. K. Mittal, GM/SWR and Shri V. K. Gupta, GM/NR are the two officers in order of seniority below Shri Virdi who would also be fulfilling the twin norms. Shri Virdi would be laying down office in August 2015 and would be having more than a year experience of working as GM/OL. It is only to be seen whether the Govt. learns the lesson and appoints Shri R. S. Virdi, GM/NFR as the CRB in compliance with its own policy guidelines. It is also a fact that Virdi is known as an officer with impeccable integrity and full of human virtues. He loves Railways, Sports and his family. Therefore, he never canvassed for GM ship nor ever contended for consideration for the post of Member Mechanical. He is never seen around in the corridors of Rail Bhawan to plead for any assignment. Indian Railways needs such a person at the helm of affairs to take this organisation forward out of the existing rot.