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HindustanTimes Sun,21 Sep 2014

Joshi has his task cut out: To effect reforms in scam-hit rail ministry

Srinand Jha, Hindustan Times  Delhi, May 23, 2013
First Published: 21:23 IST(23/5/2013) | Last Updated: 23:49 IST(23/5/2013)

The new railways minister CP Joshi's first task would be to set the house in order by undertaking organisational reforms.

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Road, transport and highways minister CP Joshi, who assumed additional charge of the Railways portfolio after the unceremonious exit of Pawan Kumar Bansal on May 11, is being tipped to take charge as the full-time railways minister.

Over the next few days, heads of various railway directorates are scheduled to make presentations before the new Railways Minister.

On Wednesday, Joshi convened a meeting with Chairman Railway Board (CRB) Vinay Mittal and Member Mechanical (MM) Arunendra Kumar; followed by a more elaborate meeting with MM on Thursday.

Taking procedural and administrative measures to reduce political interference and prevent possibilities of bribery in promotions and postings will be the biggest challenge for the new Railways Minister.

In past years, the Railways have flagrantly violated DoPT guidelines for crucial posts. For example, all of the last five secretaries of the railways board did not fulfill the criteria for elevation to the post at the time of their appointment.

Other important posts such as additional member (Vigilance) have also been downgraded in past years, and officers not eligible for the post have been appointed.

In gross violation of CVC guidelines, one officer has continuously remained posted in the CRB's confidential cell for almost 20 years.

The new Railways Minister will need to take urgent decisions on other routine matters such as filling up vacancies of critical posts including those of zonal General Managers (GMs) and Divisional Railway Managers (DRMs).

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 finalised.

The process of finding a replacement for Mahesh Kumar, suspended Member (Staff), has also not been initiated.

Departmental action of removing Kumar from the post can be initiated only after the CBI files the charge-sheet naming him. This post is likely to remain vacant until June-end.

"The bribery scandal is having a devastating impact on the functioning of the Railways", an official remarked.


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