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TOP Railway news 2013:Vacancies in Railway posts should be filled in advance and on seniority basis, the largest union of Indian Railways, the All-India Railwaymen’s Federation (AIRF), has said.

This should be done to prevent unpleasant situations like the recent arrest of the Member (Staff) by the CBI on graft charges, which tarnish the credibility of entire Indian Railways system, AIRF said in a letter sent to the Cabinet Secretary on Tuesday.

The All-India Railwaymen’s Federation (AIRF) is the largest Railway union with 10.26 lakh members.

AIRF has sent this in the context of CBI arresting Mahesh Kumar, the Railway Board’s Member (Staff), and thus the top Railway Board official in charge of almost 14 lakh Railway employees, for allegedly paying a bribe to V. Singla, the nephew of Railway Minister Pawan Bansal.
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The Railway Minister is under pressure from Opposition parties and a section within Congress to resign.

“In the wake of this incident, the morale of Railway staff in the entire rank and file is down,” Shivagopal Mishra, Secretary General, AIRF, told Business Line.

In the letter, AIRF has said there are loopholes in the promotion process at the apex level, which facilitate scope for favouritism on face value or other considerations.
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Indicating that rules are interpreted differently to favour candidates, AIRF added in the letter: “This is the only reason that the rules are interpreted on the basis (of) “you show me the face, I will show you the rules.” At present, from the seven-Member Railway Board, the Member-Traffic position is vacant, while the newly appointed Member-Staff is in CBI custody. Two more posts — Chairman Railway Board and Financial Commissioner — will be vacant from July 1.

With Member-Staff, Railway Board, in CBI’s custody, AIRF’s Secretary General Shivagopal Mishra fears Railways cadre restructuring proposal, which involves promotions of 4-5 lakh Railway employees, will be further delayed.

At present, Subodh Jain, Member-Engineering, Railway Board, has been asked to look after the Member-Staff position. Jain took over a few days ago.
FROA reacts
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Meanwhile, The Federation of Railway Officers’Associations (FROA), the apex body of more than 10,000 Railway officers, has sought Cabienet Secretary Ajit Seth’s intervention, to bring all matters relating to postings and promotions of senior Railway officers, under the Department of Personnel & Training (DoPT). “The senior Railway officials who will handle these issues should be put under DoPT and they should report to it even as they operate from the Rail Bhavan. The postings of senior officers of Railways must follow certain norms as laid down by DoPT,” the letter said.