10 Feb 2018 14:04 IST

‘Brain drain’ in Indian Railways as senior officers make track in other departments

They have been sent to sectors where their expertise is not required

Kailash K Aggarwal, an Indian Railway Service Engineers (IRSE-Civil) officer, has joined the Shipping Ministry as the new Joint Secretary (Sagarmala), topping a long list of Railway officers who have taken deputation to other related areas, including ports.

To be sure, Railway officers belonging to various sub-cadres, have been sent on deputation to other ministries/ government departments/agencies in the past but not on this scale.

As much as nine senior Railway officers are currently on deputation to the major port trusts alone – the numbers could be larger when other sectors are considered.

Railway projects

This large-scale exodus of senior officers to other sectors does not bode well for the Indian Railways, as it comes at a time when the Railway Ministry has announced several ambitious projects, including the bullet train between Mumbai and Ahmedabad, which require their expertise, a Mumbai-based transport consultant said.

Besides, the Railway Ministry has never spared an opportunity to boast its desire to benchmark their facilities to those in developed countries.

The number of accidents on Indian Railways, though, tell a different story, the consultant said. “An acute shortage of wagons has also hit the logistics and port industry while many projects are lagging behind schedule. Given this reality, it is disturbing to see trained Railway officers being deputed to do administrative jobs such as those of vigilance officers in ministries where their domain knowledge is not required,” he said. The All India Railway cadres were created with the goal of improving and maintaining the highly technical Railway services, and they have been trained in India and abroad spending crores of rupees, according to an industry executive.

Some of the prominent Railway officers holding top positions in the major port trusts include: I Jeyakumar, Chairman of Mormugao Port Trust and additional charge of VO Chidambaranar Port Trust; Rinkesh Roy, who heads Paradip Port Trust and additional charge of Kamarajar Port Ltd; P Raveendran, the chief executive officer of Chennai Port Trust and additional charge of Cochin Port Trust; and Vinit Kumar, Chairman of Kolkata Port Trust; S Balaji ArunKumar, Deputy Chairman of Kolkata Port Trust; PL Haranadh, Deputy Chairman of Visakhapatnam Port Trust; VVS Sreenivas, chief vigilance officer, Visakhapatnam Port Trust and Paradip Port Trust; and SK Sadangi, Chief Vigilance Officer, Kolkata Port Trust and Chennai Port Trust.