Port of­fi­cers irked as Rail­way, IAS peers take the helm

Rue ex­ist­ing norms that make se­nior-level pro­mo­tions al­most im­pos­si­ble for them

The Hindu Business Line - - NEWS - P MANOJ

Seven of the 12 ma­jor ports are run by of­fi­cers from the Indian Rail­ways cadre while four are headed by IAS of­fi­cers. Port of­fi­cers say they are “sys­tem­at­i­cally been de­prived” of se­lec­tion to top posts.

“Ma­jor port trusts have be­come the new hunt­ing ground for Rail­way of­fi­cers,” lamented a port of­fi­cial.

The rules framed by the Ship­ping Min­istry in Jan­uary 2008, on the ap­point­ment of chair­men/deputy chair­men in ma­jor port trusts, had said: “...it has been de­cided that in the six ma­jor ports in Cat­e­gory I (Kolkata, Mum­bai, Chennai, Jawa­har­lal Nehru, Visakha­p­at­nam and Kandla), two posts of chairman/ deputy chairman will be filled from among port of­fi­cers. Sim­i­larly, three posts of chair­should man and deputy chairman in Cat­e­gory II ports (Paradip, Cochin, Mor­mu­gao, Tu­ti­corin and New Man­ga­lore) will be filled from among port of­fi­cers.”

World Bank re­port

The rules were framed after the World Bank favoured such a plan in its ‘In­dia Port Sec­tor Strat­egy Re­port’.

“The present sys­tem of lAS re­cruit­ment is frus­trat­ing for port pro­fes­sion­als,” the World Bank wrote. “There are ad­van­tages in the em­ploy­ment, as chair­men, of se­nior civil ser­vants...How­ever, to be ef­fec­tive and ac­cepted, they must have the long-term de­vel­op­ment of ports, in all its many facets, as their pri­mary goal, rather than their ca­reer as se­nior civil ser­vants.

“A mixed so­lu­tion is there­fore rec­om­mended for con­sid­er­a­tion. First, chair­men in­creas­ingly be re­cruited from among ports/ ship­ping pro­fes­sion­als. Sec­ond, the po­si­tion of deputy chairman, re­cruited only among pro­fes­sion­als of the port in­dus­try, should be up­graded, with in­creased pos­si­bil­ity of ac­ced­ing to the po­si­tion of chairman.”

From the Rail­way cadre are I Jeyaku­mar, Chairman of Mor­mu­gao Port Trust and ad­di­tional in-charge of VO Chi­dambara­nar Port Trust; Rinkesh Roy, who heads Paradip Port Trust and is ad­di­tional in-charge of Ka­ma­ra­jar Port; P Raveen­dran, Chief Ex­ec­u­tive of Chennai Port Trust and ad­di­tional in-charge of Cochin Port Trust; and Vinit Kumar, the newly ap­pointed full-time Chairman of Kolkata Port Trust.

Cur­rently, there are no port cadre of­fi­cers el­i­gi­ble for se­lec­tion to the top post. MA Bhaskarachar, PC Parida and SAC Bose, the last three port cadre of­fi­cers, re­tired re­cently as Chair­men of Ka­ma­ra­jar Port, New Man­ga­lore Port Trust and VOCPT, re­spec­tively.

A port of­fi­cer can be­come a head of depart­ment (HoD) after 15 years of ser­vice. He/ she needs an­other five years as HoD to be­come em­pan­elled for the deputy chairman’s post.

HODs with 15 years’ ex­pe­ri­ence are still wait­ing to be pro­moted as deputy chairman in Cat­e­gory II ports.

A port cadre deputy chairman in a Cat­e­gory II port should work as deputy chairman in a Cat­e­gory I port for two years to be­come el­i­gi­ble for chairman of a Cat­e­gory II port. He/she needs a fur­ther two years’ ex­pe­ri­ence to be­come el­i­gi­ble for chairman of a Cat­e­gory I port. These rules, how­ever, don’t ap­ply to Rail­way of­fi­cers.

“One can see how norms are framed sys­tem­at­i­cally to de­prive port of­fi­cers from be­ing made chair­men and deputy chair­men. It is prac­ti­cally im­pos­si­ble for port of­fi­cers to be­come the chairman of a Cat­e­gory I port,” added the port of­fi­cer.

“Norms are framed sys­tem­at­i­cally to de­prive port of­fi­cers from be­ing made chair­men and deputy chair­men. It is prac­ti­cally im­pos­si­ble for port of­fi­cers to be­come the chairman of a Cat­e­gory I port.”

Court rul­ing

To rub it in, the Depart­ment of Per­son­nel and Train­ing (DoPT) and the Public En­ter­prises Se­lec­tion Board (PESB) ex­cluded deputy chair­men (from port of­fi­cers) of ma­jor port trusts from ap­ply­ing for the post of CMD at Ka­ma­ra­jar Port.

This was set aside by the Chennai High Court two months ago on a pe­ti­tion filed by one of the port of­fi­cers. The DoPT and the PESB are now look­ing to chal­lenge the high court or­der.

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