Railgate aftershocks: Railways Ministry remains paralaysed

Two and a half weeks after the sensational Railgate scandal shook UPA, functioning at the Railways Ministry continues to remain paralyzed – with major policy and administrative decisions such as filling up vacancies of critical posts including those of zonal General Managers (GMs) and Divisional Railway Managers (DRMs)  remaining pending.

In the last 10 days of having taken over additional charge of the Railways portfolio, Dr. CP Joshi has mostly remained busy with out-station tours, having spent just about one and a half hours at his office at the Rail Bhawan during this period.

Proposals for filling up the vacancy for member (traffic) of the railway board have not been forwarded to for approval of the Appointments Committee of Cabinet (ACC), while the panel for appointing general managers has not been finalized.

The post of Member (Traffic) is also likely to remain vacant for two months, as Devi Prasad Pandey – tipped for the post – will become eligible to become a railway board member only in July.

The process of finding a replacement for Mahesh Kumar, suspended Member (Staff), has also not been initiated, as the CBI has not filed its charge-sheet against him so far. Departmental action of removing Kumar from the post can be initiated only after the premier investigating agency files the charge-sheet. This post is likely to remain vacant until June-end.

Chairman, Railway Board (CRB) Vinay Mittal retires on June 30, but the process of finding a replacement for the top post has also not been initiated.

The bribery scandal is having a devastating impact on the functioning of the Railways. The process of appointing Divisional Railway Managers (DRMs) also appears to have gone into a limbo.

“Major policy decisions such as processing formalities for the setting up of diesel and electric locomotive factories at Madhepura and Marhoura are pending. The future of big ticket projects including the ambitious Rs. 20,000 crore Mumbai elevated rail corridor project has become uncertain. Everything is in a state of flux”, officials admitted.