In a move considered unprecedented even by the political benchmarks of Uttar Pradesh,more than 400 junior engineers in the states Public Works Department were transferred last month in violation of the Akhilesh Yadav governments new transfer policy,a majority of them on the recommendation of Samajwadi Party politicians.
All 407 junior engineers (JEs) whose transfers were announced on August 9 were moved either following demands from SP leaders,including Speaker Mata Prasad Pandey,ministers and MLAs,or personal requests from the engineers themselves,The Indian Express has found.
One transfer was even made following the recommendation of former minister Amarmani Tripathi,who is not in the SP and is in jail after being convicted of the murder of poet Madhumita Shukla.
SP leaders have sought to justify their transfer requests variously,some of which border on the frivolous or the ridiculous,according to the states Diploma Engineers Association. The transfer of many engineers has been demanded on grounds of poor conduct,unsatisfactorywork or because they were appointed by the previous BSP government. On the other hand,some SP leaders want junior engineers to be moved to a particular position for their competence and good behaviour.
In some cases,SP leaders have sought the transfer of an engineer and later wanted it cancelled for an entirely different reason. Some also mentioned the specific posting a JE should get. Others commented on the performance of JEs who were not even posted in their areas before seeking their transfer.
In one case,10 contractors lobbied for the transfer of a JE and were supported by a minister and a SP MLA. But another SP leader backed the engineer and stalled the transfer.
The following are some examples of the free-for-all:
Minister of State for Labour and Employment Shahid Manzoor asked PWD Minister Shivpal Yadav to transfer five JEs from his Meerut division because they have been posted for past 12-14 years and their functioning and behaviour is not good.
Speaker Mata Prasad Pandey recommended the transfer of engineers Vyas Muni Singh and Kaushal Kishore Pandey to his home district Siddharth Nagar as the engineers are quite responsible and honest officials and their transfer is necessary in public interest.
Former minister Amarmani Tripathi recommended the transfer of Jitendra Kumar Singh from Gorakhpur to Maharajganj citing his ability. Maharajganj Sadar seat MLA Sudama Prasad too has recommended the transfer,he also finds that the transfer is in larger public interest, Tripathi wrote.
Minister of State for Small Scale Industries Bhagwant Saran Gangwar got JE Agraj Kumar Singh transferred from Baghpat to Bareilly as the engineer is able and hardworking and his transfer is in public interest. The minister and the engineer belong to Bareilly.
MLA Ramgopal Rawat got JE Satish Kumar transferred from Agra to Sitapur saying Satish Kumar has a clean image and is very polite to public. The MLA and the engineer belong to Barabanki.
Former minister and MLA Shakir Ali complained against JE Mahendra Kumar Baliyan,Veerpal and Jagdev Singh. The engineers work is unsatisfactory and they were posted in the BSP regime,thus the partys image is sullied, Ali wrote.
SPs Hardoi unit president Rajesh Yadav recommended transferring Siddharth Prabhakar from Hardoi to Bareilly as his work is unsatisfactory and this gives a wrong message to people. Later,Yadav wrote another letter,expressing satisfaction with Prabhakars work. I spoke to local MLAs and the engineers work was found to be satisfactory. He should be retained in Hardoi, he wrote,following which his request was accepted.
The movements violate the governments new transfer policy announced on March 22 which says not more than 15 per cent of employees in any category should be transferred during the governments annual transfer season. This limit can be exceeded after ministerial approval only if employees who have spent more than six years in a district need to be moved out. However,the SP government has already transferred 1,200 of the total 4,200 JEs this season.
Hari Kishore Tiwari,president of the Diploma Engineers Association,said the transfers were made on the whims and fancies of SP leaders. He alleged that the transfers were announced on August 9 but dated July 31 as the government had barred transfers after July 31.
We had recommended the transfer of about 10 engineers on genuine medical grounds. A medical board met and recommended their cases,but they were not considered while anyone with a letter from a SP leader got a desired posting, Tiwari said. PWD Principal Secretary Kumar Arvind Dev defended the transfers made on the recommendations of politicians even though he admitted that more engineers were transferred than prescribed in the policy.
They are public representatives and they are well within their right to make recommendations on the basis of the working of engineers. The recommendations are taken into account and there is nothing wrong, he said.