PWD trifurcation confusion continues

In March, V.K. Gupta, an executive engineer with the Public Works Department, was transferred to the Water Resources Department. But soon, he was sent back, and currently is languishing without a post.

Like Mr. Gupta, PWD sources said, there are at least 150 engineers in all cadres in a state of limbo. They are people who did not pick any particular department when the government trifurcated human resources from the Public Works Department to Irrigation, and Rural Development and Panchayat Raj Departments.

With this, the State government’s attempt to address the four-decade-old vexed issue of trifurcation is nowhere near solved.

While engineers such as Mr. Gupta have not had any posting since the option window to choose among the departments has closed, engineers who have chosen to stay back with the PWD (that was the mother department), have now outnumbered the cadre strength. While the RDPR department has enough engineers, the Water Resources, and Rural Water Supply and Sanitation scheme have no takers and face a shortage. One of the reasons for confusion, sources pointed out, was that engineers feared their promotion avenues would diminish if they move out.

Also, several engineers, who provided their consent, have been allocated departments other than what they chose. They are expected to approach the Karnataka Administrative Tribunal, which will only add to the confusion. Adding to the anxiety among those who have not provided consent is the publication of a seniority list for promoting engineers in the Water Resources Department even before sharing of human resources with the departmental promotion committee. Junior engineers are slated to receive promotion even though senior engineers are still languishing in PWD.

While the PWD had remained a mother department and operated a common seniority list till 2016, issues began to crop up with the recruitment of engineers directly in the Water Resources Department in 2003. Engineers appointed in 2009 in the Water Resources Department have been promoted in 2019. In 2016, the RDPR appointed engineers separately, and they were also promoted in 2018.

At a meeting attended by secretaries of all three departments under the chairmanship of Additional Chief Secretary, Department of Personnel and Administrative Reforms, in March, it was also felt that the departments have seen improper allocation and are not balanced. One more window to provide options is expected shortly.

Little public interest

“This exercise is being done with very little public interest. Unfortunately, in recruitment, postings and promotions, both money avenues are the only focus,” a senior PWD officer rued.

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Printable version | May 18, 2021 9:02:36 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/pwd-trifurcation-confusion-continues/article34305648.ece

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