December 14th, 2012

Antony keeps mum over DG BRO appointment row

Hardeep Singh Bedi
NEW DELHI: Defence Minister AK Antony has till now kept mum over the row regarding the appointment of Lt Gen K.T Parnaik as Director General, Border Roads Organisation (BRO). His appointment is being voraciously opposed by the officers of the General Reserve of Engineer Force (GREF) that is considered as a civilian force in BRO.
The BRO has a unique combination of officers-some are drawn from the army while a section of officers are from the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH). The overall command is with the Ministry of Defence (MoD) and the Minister of State for Defence handles it.  At a time when China is being aggressive at the Line of Actual Control (LAC), the organisation that maintains roads that serve the border areas is at unrest. The amount of unrest among the 1,500 odd GREF officials could be gauged by the fact that 125 out 260 BRO officers at senior level, comprising Majors to Major Generals, have shot protest letters to the Defence Minister A.K Antony to cancel the appointment of Lt Gen Parnaik. The petitions cry hoarse that the appointment of DG BRO has been done by flouting all the norms.
The protestors in the letters have said that on 8th November, the Secretary Border Roads Development Board (BRDB) intimated that framing of recruitment rules was under consideration in consultation with the MoD and the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC), but on 14 November, 2012 the Military Secretary under the MoD issued orders to appoint the DG.
The aggrieved officials say that for last 52 years, MS Branch of Army Headquarters had been posting DGBR, a post in MoRTH in contravention of the guidelines issued by The Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) and UPSC.
“As per the DoPT guidelines, posting an officer of this rank cannot be done without the approval of ACC.  Secondly, adhoc appointment to any post which does not have recruitment rules cannot be made for more than a year that too it should be done in consultation with UPSC.
Lastly, any inter-ministerial appointment cannot be done without the approval of Cabinet as per Business Allocation Rules 1961,” assert protestors.
In the past, adequate seniority levels did not exist within the GREF force to qualify them for the DG post.
However, this time, at least two officials , B.K Yadav and B.B Lal are qualifying for the slot. They are  currently holding the ranks of Additional Director General (ADG) and have the experience of more than 30 years in the organisation.

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