‘Outstanding’ female engineers supersede seniors in PWD promotions
The promotion process of the engineers in the Public Works Department (PWD) of the government of Assam is being questioned by many junior level engineers working in the department.
An assistant engineer who has been working with the department for the last 18 years said, “There is a huge promotion scam going on in the department since many years.”
Talking to G Plus under conditions of anonymity, the assistant engineer alleged that in the past there was a well connected engineer working in a senior position who manipulated the entire promotion process in the year 2003.
According to him, with the help of a notification, the Assam Engineering (PWD) Amended Service Rule, 1983 was amended in 2003. With the amendment the promotion policy also changed.
The promotion process depends on the performance marks awarded to each particular employee in his or her respective annual confidential report (ACR) which is reviewed every five years.
The performance is calculated according to the grading given by the reporting officer. If it is below average, it is calculated as 0 point. For average its 1 point, good – 2 points, very good – 3 points and outstanding – 4 points.
There is also 0.22 points given for seniority every year. So, in five years, an engineer earns 1.1 points for seniority.
But according to the amended rule, for promotion from assistant engineer to assistant executive engineer, an engineer requires 19.1 points and above for A class promotion. For B class promotion the requirement is 7.1 points to below 19.1 points.
The assistant engineer alleged that many junior officers, using their good connections and relations with the senior officers, keep getting outstanding in the ACR every year.
So in five years they directly get 20 points and get promoted superseding a hugenumber of engineers who are senior to them in terms of years of service.
It is also being alleged that after five years, the ACRs are made available to the employees who are well connected, through a nexus in Dispur. The engineers then improve the grading by bribing the concerned reporting officers for a better grade.
The assistant engineer said, “Like the casting couch in Bollywood, promotion couch exists in PWD as many female engineers keep getting promotions frequently because of their ‘outstanding’ points.”
Some engineers earlier had also filed an RTI in the directorate of printing & stationary to get the copy of the notification (No Con 5/2003/50 dated 28/04/2003) but the directorate replied that it was not able to trace the notification.
Federation of Engineering Service Association of Assam (FESAA) had also written to the chief minister in 2016 stating that PWD engineers are demoralised due to systematic deprivation of their legitimate promotional avenues for the last 13 years.
Many competent officers of PWD have had to retire at the entry level post without promotion.
FESAA also mentioned in its letter that this marking system of ACR is not followed in any other technical department of the state.
A source in Dispur said, “At present there are two senior officers in Dispur who manage the entire promotion scam in the department.”
It needs to be mentioned that in PWD, engineers can reach the level of commissioner and secretary after getting all the promotions.
Minister unaware of any such scam
Refuting the allegations of any “promotion scam” in Public Works Department (PWD), the minister of the department said he is unaware of any such flaws.
PWD minister Parimal Suklabaidya said, “If the allegation is genuine than they (engineers) should write to me with evidence.”
He said he will look into the matter and if required even order an enquiry if the allegations are found to be true.
“I have not received any such complaints till date,” said Suklabaidya.
The minister claimed that promotions in PWD depend entirely on the performance of the engineers and if someone is not performing, he or she is not promoted.