On the last day of the year, the Prime Minister-led Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) ended a long impasse by filling up vacant posts of Members of Railway Board, appointing a new Chairman and also new zonal General Managers.
With the incumbent Aurnendra Kumar ending his term Wednesday, A K Mithal, currently the Member (Staff), was appointed the new Chairman, Railway Board. Mithal was replaced by current North Central Railway General Manager Pradeep Kumar as the Member (Staff). Mithal got the post as he is the seniormost board member with the requisite balance tenure of service left. Mithal will be in office till mid-2016. He is an officer of the Indian Railway Stores Service of the 1976 batch. He is the first-ever officer from the Stores service to bag the top job.
After five months of vacancy, the post of Member (Electrical) will be filled by the General Manager of South East Central Railway, Navin Tandon, currently posted in Bilaspur, Chhattisgarh. Tandon is a 1976-batch officer of the Indian Railway Service of Electrical Engineers.
This is unprecedented in the Railways for the vacancies of eight GMs and three members to be filled up in a single day. The only post that remains vacant now is that of Member Mechanical which, too, will be filled shortly, sources said. Officials said present ACC has adhered to norms, transparency, seniority and eligibility to process these appointments. The high-level appointments in Railways had been mired in controversy in the past. Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu is said to have played a crucial role in coordinating with PMO and getting these appointments cleared finally.
The ACC had been returning the file of GM appointments for almost a year now. Despite a regime change in May, the new ACC too, headed by Modi, had been unconvinced about Railways’s proposal for these appointments. The file kept moving back and forth between PMO and Rail Bhawan.