New rule on transfers riles senior engineering cadre in PWD

KARNATAKA : Bengaluru : 21/07/2021 : View of PWD Building near K R Circle in Bengaluru on Wednesday 21 July 2021. PHOTO : SUDHAKARA JAIN / THE HINDU.

KARNATAKA : Bengaluru : 21/07/2021 : View of PWD Building near K R Circle in Bengaluru on Wednesday 21 July 2021. PHOTO : SUDHAKARA JAIN / THE HINDU.

Senior engineering cadre in the State, which is already feeling the heat of trifurcation of the Public Works Department, is now riled at a change of rule that they fear would not only cause confusion on deputation but also truncate their promotion avenues.

More than a dozen Engineering-in-Chiefs and Chief Engineers have written to the Government to withdraw the changes brought through the notification of The Karnataka Government (Allocation of Business) (Amendment) Rules, 2021, which now vests the power of transfers with the respective departments, taking away the power from Department of Personnel and Administrative Reforms (DPAR) that was in place since 1977.

“The trifurcation process has not been completed yet and confusion is still around in the engineering cadres. We do not understand the rationale behind bringing new rules even before completion of the four-decade-long trifurcation process,” said sourcesin the PublicWorks Department. “The allocation of business is silent on deputation to other departments. There are nearly a dozen posts of chief engineers in other departments. So far, DPARhas beeninvolved in such postings. Individually can departments sendtheirengineers on deputation?”

Over the last one year, the State Government has been in the process of finalising division of engineering resources among Public Works, Water Resources, and Rural Development and Panchayat Raj departments that is yet to reach a finality. The letter to the Government also pointed out 20% of engineers have not yet exercised their preference for departments whilePWDhas 40% excess engineering strength than the sanctioned posts.

Fearing the holding up of promotions, they pointed out that the new rule that removes the power of deputation from DPAR also provides scope for confusion in promotion. “The quality of the departmental promotion committee that was earlier headed by Chief Secretary will now be diluted at the department level. With the confusion, our fear is that promotions will be held up,” sources said.

Government sources said that more than 50 chief engineers, who have retired before May 31, 2018 are yet to receive pension for the cadre of chief engineers, and these have gone to court. “The DPAR wants to wriggle out of the court cases.”

Meanwhile, refusing to comment on the issue, Chief Secretary P. Ravikumar said that the issue was an internal matter of the Government and it will be dealt with.

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