Opinion Columnists 14 Sep 2022 Dilip Cherian | Rail ...
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Dilip Cherian | Railway officers’ worry grows over new rules on GMs

Published Sep 15, 2022, 12:07 am IST
Updated Sep 15, 2022, 12:07 am IST
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Nearly four months after new rules for promotion to senior levels in the Railways were announced, rail babus are still awaiting the first batch of promotions. There is a gathering sense of unease among them due to the prolonged silence that has followed the announcement.

Sources have informed DKB that it’s not just the unduly lengthy selection process that worries babus in the railways but also apprehensions about their career prospects in the light of the new rules. Apparently, the ministry has prepared a short list of officers based on the recommendations of an expert panel. For the general manager level, it is believed, that the ministry received 135 applications but shortlisted only about 35 officers, based on the panel’s recommendations. Some rail babus believe that the expert panel was told to recommend only these many officers from among all the applicants. While on the face of it, there seems to be nothing wrong, some babus assert that the process is faulty and arbitrary.

The departmental promotion committee (DPC) is required to put all officers in the zone of consideration. Only the committee is empowered to create a shortlist and recommend a panel of officers based on clearly defined criteria. But instead, the ministry seems to have decided to prepare a shortlist of officers based on the work done by the expert panel. Who will prevail — the new panel of experts or the old DPC — remains to be seen.

Overlooked for CS post, IAS officer takes on Himachal CM

A rift at the top of the bureaucracy in poll-bound Himachal Pradesh does not auger well for chief minister Jai Ram Thakur and his party. Senior IAS officer Nisha Singh, who was superseded for the post of chief secretary by Ram K. Dhiman, has now questioned the latter’s appointment to the top babu post in the hill state.

According to sources, Ms Singh, a 1987-batch officer, has sought the intervention of the state governor, Rajendra Vishwanath Arlekar, stating that the present administration is “not geared positively towards lady officers and women in general”. Further, she has alleged that Mr Dhiman’s appointment as chief secretary in July this year was done without “assigning any reason”. She is currently posted as principal adviser (training) to the state government.  

Mr Dhiman superseded not just Ms Singh but also Ali Raza Rizvi and Sanjay Gupta, both 1988 batch IAS officers. Interestingly, Ms Singh is the wife of Ram Subagh Singh, who was removed as chief secretary and replaced by Mr Dhiman. Further, reportedly Subhag is the fifth chief secretary not to complete his tenure during the current BJP government. The others include V.C. Pharka, Vineet Chawdhary, B.K. Aggarwal and Anil Khachi.

Potholes in expressway sank babu’s hopes of an extension

Turns out that potholes in the Bundelkhand expressway may be the reason why the tenure of Awanish Kumar Awasthi, former additional chief secretary (home) of Uttar Pradesh, was not extended and, instead, he was retired despite chief minister Yogi Adityanath requesting the Centre twice on the matter.

Sources have informed DKB that the Centre was not pleased with Mr Awasthi’s decision to get the expressway inaugurated during the monsoon, which damaged the highway and gave the Samajwadi Party in the state an opportunity to target the ruling party. By now it is common knowledge that relations between Lucknow and New Delhi are decidedly cool, and many see in this the Centre’s move to rein in the Yogi Sarkar and impose its own will.

But there is still a sliver of hope for those who are still rooting for Mr Awasthi. The buzz in UP is that, sooner or later, the chief minister will bring Mr Awasthi back on some weighty assignment. The 1987-batch IAS officer is still widely seen as a close confidant of Yogi Adityanath. And if indeed Yogi does bring him back, will the Centre consider this as open defiance by a highly ambitious chief minister? Watch this space for further developments.

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