Updated: June 4, 2020 12:19:17 pm
Fate of hundreds of candidates who had qualified for Railways Assistant Loco Pilot (ALP) posts are in limbo as the Railway Recruitment Board (RRB) Gorakhpur has accepted that there was a technical error in announcing the number of vacancies.
The Railway Recruitment Board (RRB) had notified 26,502 provisional vacancies for the posts of ALP and technicians in January 2018 under advertisement number CEN01/2018. The provisional vacancies were revised in the following September to a total of 64,731, out of which 27,795 belonged to ALP and the rest 36,576 belonged to various posts of technicians.
The Gorakhpur Unit notified 1681 vacancies for ALP and 1621 vacancies for technician posts (3302 in total). In September 2019, the RRB Gorakhpur allotted division-wise panel to 1,377 candidates for ALP posts. It prepared a panel of 1,099 candidates for joining and made another panel of 278 remaining candidates. However, in February 2020, the board said that it has made an error in feeding the number of vacancies.
“Out of selected 1,377 candidates, it will be possible to give joining to only 865 candidates by March 2021,” RRB Gorakhpur said in a notification dated February 20, 2020, adding that the Varanasi Mandal (BSB) fed the vacancies twice in the system, thus making the total vacancies 826 instead of 428. The RRB Gorakhpur is part of the North Eastern Railway and has three divisions — Varanasi, Lucknow, and Izatnagar.
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Later, the Gorakhpur board said that it has 1,000 vacancies and eventually cleared joining for a total 1,099 candidates from the panel of 1377 candidates. Notably, the first panel made by the Gorakhpur unit listed 1099 candidates. The Gorakhpur Unit asked the railway board to sanction the rest of the 278 candidates to other regional railway units that make up the second panel prepared by Gorakhpur zone.
“The final cut-off was published after three levels of exam, document verification, and medical check-up to empanel 1,377 candidates for the Gorakhpur board. However, now we are being told that the actual vacancies are only 1000 and not 1681; it was mentioned higher due to an error. They are saying that we will be offered the position in other zones but it’s already over nine months and we still do not have a date,” said an RRB ALP candidate who doesn’t wish to be named.
Regarding the placement of such candidates, Northeastern Railway CPO Shailendra Kumar told the indianexpress.com, “This is an inter-zonal issue. We cannot transfer panel from one zone to another. We had sent a request to the railway board to transfer the excess candidates in the panel to other zones but haven’t received a response yet. It might not have been a priority for the board as they could have some other urgent issues at hand. Also, the board had been closed for about two months, but since it has been opened now, maybe they’ll announce something in 8-10 days.”
While publishing any advertisement, the Railways states that it reserves the right to increase or decrease vacancies. However, candidates alleged that in the case of Gorakhpur, there is another problem. Instead of making a new list with the new cut-off for 1,099 vacancies, RRB Gorakhpur offered joining to candidates based on the older cut-off that was made for 1,681 candidates, neglecting the reserved category candidates who qualified for unreserved seats.
As a result, a number of OBC/SC/ST candidates who secured higher marks to qualify for the unreserved seats in the cut-off were treated as the general category candidates and left out of the joining, whereas other OBC/SC/ST candidates with lesser marks got the joining based on their reserved category rank.
Abhay Pratap, an SC candidate who qualified as an unreserved candidate for the ALP post said, “I have cleared the ALP test for the Gorakhpur division. My only mistake is that I scored one mark more than the unreserved category cut-off because of which, I was treated as a general category candidate and deprived of joining while other SC category candidates who scored less than me have joined the training.”
When asked about why reserved category candidates with higher marks are awaiting their placement while the candidates with lower marks from the same category have been allotted seats, the CPO said, “If we are sending 100 candidates from the panel for training, we cannot send only general category candidates. We will send OBC, SC, and ST candidates as well. When reserved category candidates are selected under unreserved seats, they consume the general seat and someone else is selected at the reserved seat. That is why they are treated as general category candidates only.”
“So it’s natural for the other reserved category candidates with lower marks to be selected for training first because of their category ranking. I know some reserved category candidates could have been selected in the first panel if they had scored less, but this is the rule and this is something only the court or the Parliament can change,” he said.
Kumar said that this could have been avoided if they had cancelled the panel altogether and made a fresh merit list based on the actual vacancy, but it would have meant the rejection of excess candidates. “We did not want that to happen. That is why we have selected the hard route and asked the railway board to transfer the excess panel to other zones. But this will definitely take some time. The candidates need to have some patience. All will be called for joining for sure,” Kumar said.
UPDATE: Meanwhile, the Railway Board has replied to the queries raised by indianexpress.com: “Railway Board has taken appropriate steps to adjust the excess candidates by diverting them to other Zonal Railways after ascertaining their requirement. The process has already been initiated and once the diversion is completed, the joining of candidates will start.”
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