A chief engineer transferred to the Hemavathi project in Gorur by the Cauvery Neeravari Nigam Ltd. (CNNL) about a month ago is still unable to take charge. The reason: a superintendent engineer has been given additional charge of the chief engineer’s post. The matter has now reached Governor Vajubhai R. Vala, with SC/ST employees’ association complaining against the CNNL managing director.
Over the last one and a half years, nearly 4,000 Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe employees were demoted following a Supreme Court order, and later, another apex court order led to cancellation of their demotions, leading to several officers — at least 150 of them —have no postings and more importantly, no salary. “These situations are not to be seen in isolation. At every step, the SC/ST employees have been fighting to get their due share after the Consequential Seniority Act received Presidential assent in June 2018,” says D. Chandrashekaraiah, legal adviser to State government SC/ST Employees’ Coordination Committee. “Last Wednesday, we had to fight the manner in which departmental promotion committee (DPC) proceedings were held in the Planning Department. There was scant regard for reservation issues. We have brought it to the notice of the Chief Secretary,” he added. In the CNNL case, he said the chief engineer has not been allowed to take charge, and instead, the managing director has recommended continuation of a superintendent engineer to be in charge.
The committee that has been fighting to get the Act implemented has been facing many hurdles. While the DPCs have been completed without considering reservation, in some departments, DPCs have been postponed where it was found that a SC/ST official had the chance to be promoted over others. In some departments, backlog posts, general seniority and general merit of the officials have not been considered while bracketing them in the 15% and 3% posts reserved for SC and ST respectively.
According to Mr. Chandrashekaraiah, who has since written to the Chief Secretary drawing his attention to developments in CNNL, the Finance Department is yet to decide on declaring “compulsory waiting period” to enable those without posting to get their salaries under the Karnataka State Civil Services Recruitment rules. “At least 150 officers/employees are without posting, including 70 in Public Works Department alone. They have their families to look after and to remain without posting means no salary too,” he said, adding that the file has remained with Finance Department for the past two months.
The SC/ST Coordination Committee estimates that of the about 7.43 lakh sanctioned posts in the government, nearly 2.34 lakh posts are vacant, and there are about 35,000 backlog posts that need to be filled for SC/STs.
“There is no need for the departmental heads monitoring the promotion to deny opportunities as there are sufficient vacant posts. We have nothing against general category officials too. The State government has to also be sensitive to implement the provisions of the Act,” Mr. Chandrashekaraiah said.