LAHORE: Various senior officers of the Pakistan Railways (PR) have expressed concerns at, what they termed, the unequal promotion opportunities to BPS-22 for senior position engineers, demanding the federal government restore the position of chief executive officer (CEO)/senior general manager (operations) in BPS-21 from BPS-22.

According to them, the post of general manager operations (BPS-21) was upgraded through the Ministry of Railways notification on Feb 16, 2015 as CEO/Sr GM in BPS-22 with the eligibility criteria for three major cadres–Civil Engineering, Mechanical Engineering and Traffic & Commercial Group of the railways. Unfortunately, they say, this upgrade has not yielded any positive impact on performance of the department; rather it has created serious administrative issues and anomalies.

It is pertinent to mention that officers/engineers of BPS-21, including Dost Ali Leghari, Farrukh Taimoor Ghilzai, Salman Sadiq Sheikh and Shahid Aziz, were eligible for BPS-22 post but they were not considered for promotion by the high-powered board despite the fact that they were having the two-year qualifying service in BPS-21 and had also worked as CEO/Sr GM on the ‘current charge’ basis.

“This discriminatory practice is substantiated with the fact that the cases of aforementioned officers (now retired) were not considered by the high powered board for promotion to BPS-22 and subsequently, their representations were turned down as well,” reads a letter sent to secretary (Establishment) signed by 10 senior officers, namely Saminullah Gandapur, Amir Nisar Chaudhry, Rahat Mirza, Ghulam Qasim, Hammad Hasan Mirza, Qamarul Zaman Bhatti, Pervaiz Arshad, Rizwanul Haq Hashmi, Aizaz Hussain Syed and Athar Riaz.

10 officers write letter to Centre for restoration of CEO’s position in BPS-21

On the contrary, they say, Javed Anwar Bubak, an officer from Traffic and Commercial Group, was promoted to BPS-22 against this upgraded post of CEO/Sr GM in 2015. Mr Akbar was another Traffic and Commercial Officer who was promoted to BPS-22 in the Secretariat Group and not against the post of CEO/Sr GM. However, he was posted as CEO/Sr GM in BPS-22 and at that time engineers had lodged their representation against these orders. They said the biased treatment had created a sense of deprivation and discouragement amongst engineers–the backbone of the railways. It also hindered career progress and undermined the morale of a major segment of a technical organization comprising almost 80pc engineers among the total lot of officers.

To address this disparity and promote a more inclusive leadership structure, they proposed restoration of the post of CEO/Sr GM to its original position of BPS-21.This would address the recurring issue of posting of CEO/Sr GM on OPS/current-charge basis. Moreover, the proposed restoring of CEO/Sr GM to BPS-21 would provide equal opportunity to all the three cadres of Civil Engineering, Mechanical Engineering and Traffic & Commercial to be posted as CEO/Sr GM in BPS-21 on a regular basis. Presently, eight officers of these three cadres are working in BPS-21 and anyone of them can be posted on regular basis as CEO/Sr GM without any discrimination to any cadre. This would bring unity of command and harmony amongst all cadres of the railways.

The senior officers have further highlighted that presently both posts of federal secretary/chairman railways and CEO/Sr GM are in BPS-22. This is a dichotomy, as in most of the federal organizations, the head of attached/subordinate office/department are of BPS-21 whereas federal secretary is of BPS-22. To aggravate the situation further, the department is losing cohesiveness and facing internal departmentalization among these three major cadres and causing a setback to progression of the Pakistan Railways.

The proposed restoration aligns with the ongoing work force rationalisation efforts within the Pakistan Railways where approximately 20,000 positions are being abolished. Restoring the CEO/Sr GM in BPS-21 is in line with this streamlining process and reflects the changing needs of the organization, which is already facing a financial crunch and struggling to give pay and pension along with pending liability of approximately Rs33bn during the current fiscal year.

“The PR cannot afford such an upgrade which has created a feeling of injustice and polarisation among different cadres,” states the letter.

OPERATION: The Lahore Development Authority, in collaboration with the Traffic Engineering and Planning Agency (Tepa), conducted a joint operation on the Main Boulevard, College Road and MM Alam Road in Gulberg. The enforcement teams removed several illegal signboards from various plazas, offices, restaurants, cloth and jewelry stores, pizza shops and private banks. Additionally, the teams sealed over a dozen properties for non-compliance of parking regulations.

Published in Dawn, May 10th, 2024

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