Several zones and production units on IR are now headless for months, with no fulltime General Manager to oversee affairs, sources tell RailPost.
Key zones like Central Railway (CR), Southern Railway (SR), Eastern Railway (ER), North Western Railway (NWR) and South East Central Railway (SECR) are operating without a chief since at least May 2019. Out of these, CR, SR and ER cover the key high passenger traffic urban areas of Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata.
SECR, one of the most profitable zones of IR due to the high volume of freight it handles, is also headless.
Similarly, the Bengaluru based Rail Wheel Factory (RWF) is functioning without a General Manager. So is Central Organisation for Railway Electrification (CORE), one of the key agencies executing the Ministry of Railways’ push to electrify the entire Indian Railways network.
The problem seems to extend to the Railway Board, with key Member posts currently being ‘looked after’ as ‘additional charge’ by other officials. This includes Member – Staff of the Railway Board.
More GM posts to be vacant soon
More posts are expected to become vacant over the next few months. A K Gupta, General Manager, Western Railway, already has additional charge of CR, and will be retiring in November. If the CR GM’s post is not filled by then, both zones headquartered in and serving Mumbai will be headless. If the CR GM’s post is filled and the WR GM’s isn’t, the new CR GM might have to end up managing both zones for a while.
Similarly, General Managers for Varanasi based Diesel Locomotive Works (DLW) and Northern Railway (NR) are due to retire in December 2019 and January 2020 respectively.
A questionnaire seeking clarification was emailed to the office of the Minister of Railways. We have not received a response to our mail until the time of publishing this report.
Impact on performance?
It is unclear if vacant posts and the ongoing churn at top levels in the organization has had any effect on the functioning of these administrative units.
However, with the performance of several zones and units missing targets on both operations and project execution, the ministry will likely have to take a call on the issue soon.