Road min broke rules to put two officials on NHAI board
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The road transport ministry has side-stepped the minimum eligibility norms to accommodate contenders to the post of Member (technical) on the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) board. The eligibility norms that require three years of experience as chief engineer was overlooked while shortlisting two NHAI officials — MP Sharma and RK Singh.
Sharma is likely to be appointed as Member (technical), for which the orders are yet to be issued. The ministry, in a communication, has asked for the views of the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) on giving cadre clearance to Sharma. DoPT's views were sought after concerns were raised on whether an officer, who has been on deputation for more than six years, can be granted cadre clearance for applying to a board level post of Member in NHAI.
Notably, the maximum permissible tenure of deputation is five years, But Sharma was allowed to continue beyond five years after a special relaxation up to October, 2012 was granted by the DoPT. It has also sought the views of whether the officer will have to resign from his post to join as Member, in case of his selection. The ministry, however, has said the two officials in question, along with a third, were in the Pay Band-4 (PB4) with a grade pay of Rs 10,000 much earlier than the day they were promoted as chief engineers.
"MP Sharma and RK Singh were holding the post in PB4 and Grade Pay of Rs 10,000 for more than three years and thus fulfilled the aforesaid eligibility criteria for the post of Member (Technical)," said an email reply from the ministry in response to a query. But the orders of their promotion, reviewed by The Indian Express, show that the pay band of the officials increased from the date of assumption of charge after they were promoted as chief engineers.
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