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9 of 17 railway zones working without GMs

nationpaper Updated: Jul 03, 2016, 06:47 IST

NEW DELHI: At a time when the cash-strapped Indian Railways is struggling to stay afloat, half of the numbers of cutting-edge posts of general managers (GMs) are lying vacant. The remaining half of GMs are scheduled to fly off to the US for a ‘study tour’ this month.

The virtual and real vacancies of the key positions may severely impact the transporter’s financial performance at a time when it has failed to meet its budgetary earning targets, while its operating ratio (paisa spent against every rupee earned) looks like it might spike. Nine of the 17 railway zones, including the Northeast Frontier Railway, North Central Railway and the Eastern Railway, are currently operating without GMs, with some of these posts lying vacant for nearly six months.

“Three years after the Mahesh Kumar cash-for-post scandal, nothing much has changed. Maneuvers for key positions continue to remain the name of the game”, a ministry official said. The delay in finalising GM panels is also being attributed to the railway minister’s idea of ushering in ‘meritocracy’.

“Precious time was lost in experimenting with the idea, which eventually was found as non-implementable in a government department,” senior officials said. The minister had proposed a “transparent and interview-based” approach wherein the candidate would be asked to elaborate on a roadmap for his vision to transform the railways.

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