Turf war on amongst MVD employees

An intense turf war is under way in the Motor Vehicles Department (MVD) between the executive and ministerial staff over promotion to the Joint Regional Transport Officer (RTO) cadre, which is now shared in the ratio of 2:1 between the two categories respectively, as per the ‘Special Rules’ called the Kerala Transport Service Rules. Motor Vehicle Inspectors from the executive wing and senior superintendents from the ministerial side are being promoted as Joint RTOs.

The rift has now reached almost a tipping point with the Kerala Motor Vehicles Department Staff Association (KMVDSA), the sole organisation of the 1,500-odd ministerial staff, calling for an indefinite stir from February 25 after the Transport Department entrusted the Personnel and Administrative Reforms Department to study whether the Special Rules needed to be amended, which the association perceives as an attempt to usurp their limited opportunities for promotion in favour of their executive counterparts.

As a prelude to the indefinite strike, the ministerial staff boycotted their work for two days from Monday and held a day-night strike in front of the Secretariat.

KMVDSA general secretary S. Gopakumar said a Division Bench of the Kerala High Court had in 1994 upheld the validity of the Special Rules and that the Kerala Administrative Tribunal had, among other things, cited that verdict while turning down a petition challenging the Special Rules last July. He cited a verdict in 1982 when the High Court had found the functions of Joint RTOs as purely administrative with no need for technical knowledge.

Proposal sabotaged

“Though the implementation of the Safe Kerala project for bringing down fatalities in accidents through better enforcement had envisaged creation of ministerial staff, that proposal was sabotaged limiting it to creation of around 262 Motor Vehicle Inspectors’ posts, burdening the existing ministerial staff with the work under Safe Kerala project as well,” said Mr. Gopakumar.

Incidentally, the Transport Commissionerate in July last year shot down a representation from the Kerala Motor Vehicles Department Gazetted Officers Association (KMVDGOA), an organisation of MVIs, requesting the revise of the existing ratio of promotion to the cadre of Joint RTO. In the letter, the Transport Commissioner had noted that a ministerial wing clerk gets promoted as Joint RTO after 25-30 years whereas an Assistant MVI (AMVI) gets promoted to the same cadre much earlier. “If any change is brought in the present system, the meagre promotion chance enjoyed by the ministerial staff will be completely lost,” the letter said.

KMVDGOA general secretary A.S. Vinod, however, claimed that there was an unfair disparity in promoting verifying-level staff with little technical know-how from the ministerial wing much faster over the superior issuing-level executive staff with technical expertise owing to the numerical disadvantage that played out in favour of the former.

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Printable version | May 13, 2022 6:51:01 pm |