Impasse over CRB appointment continues

New Delhi: As the impasse over appointment of Chairman, Railway Board continues, the Ministry of Railways has sent a long list of officers in order of seniority to the Appointment Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) to decide a candidate for the post.  The latest move comes after the rejection of the earlier lists containing only three to four names sent by the Ministry to the ACC which was rejected by PMO.

While the criteria for the Chairman’s post entails a railway officer having field experience of one year as General Manager of a zone and two years residual service, the latest list has names of several officers including four general managers and three Railway Board members.

There are representations from aspirants to Railway Minister Mallikarjun Kharge that cases were raked up against them to scuttle their chances for elevation.

Admitting the crisis, a senior railway Ministry official said, “There are allegations and counter allegations. All shortlisted candidates are doing whatever possible to block chances of others.”

Appointments at higher posts are in focus particularly after the alleged cash for job scam unearthed by CBI in May.

According to the official, there is a possibility of appointing an IAS officer of secretary rank at the post of chairman if the impasse continues further.

“If the infighting does not stop then such a thing is a possibility but officers are opposed to it. There may be some who are supporting it out of frustration,” said Shubhranshu, General Secretary of the Federation of Railway Officers Association (FROI).

FROI has written a letter to Kharge requesting him to prevent any move to change appointment rules for the top post.

“There is a complete paralysis as nine posts of general managers are vacant for months together. Fifteen to 20 DRMs are due for replacement. Because of uncertainty over rules for appointments at senior posts, officers are deprived of their due postings,” Shubhranshu said.

Though Central Vigilance Commission has so far cleared only four names including A K Mittal, general manager of South Western Railway; Radhey Shyam, general manager of Kolkata Metro, V K Gupta, general manager of Northern Railway and acting Chairman Arunendra Kumar, a decision could not be taken and as a result more names were sent for consideration.