Kharge takes charge of railway ministry

Kharge takes charge of railway ministry

Newly appointed Railway Minister Mallikarjun Kharge Wednesday took charge of the ministry and met top officials, including the chairman and members of railway board.

“I will come to you after holding discussions with officials,” he responded to media waiting to  talk to him on his new assignment.  He admitted that he had a very short tenure left before going to elections but said he would do his best.

According to sources, the minister held discussions with officials to finalise appointments to the railway board.  The recent railways scam pertaining to top railway appointments, which involved former railway minister Pawan Kumar Bansal’s nephew and railway board member (staff) Mahesh Kumar, hampered the selecting the next chairman of railway board.

Incumbent chairman Vinay Mittal retires on June 30. Financial Commissioner Vijayakanth retires next month, while the post of member (traffic) will also fall vacant with Mittal’s exit as he is holding additional charge.

After the arrest of Mahesh Kumar, member (engineering) S K Jain is holding additional charge of member (staff). Thus, Kharge has the task of appointing the chairman and three members in a short span against the backdrop of the CBI investigation into cash-for-appointments scam, which has exposed systemic irregularities, besides the involvement of senior members of the staff. CBI’s preliminary probe into graft allegations against Kulbhushan, the senior-most member of the board, has put a spanner in the works for him as the front-runner for the post of chairman.

Kharge’s predecessor C P Joshi had initiated the process of appointments with due caution.Kharge may follow in his footsteps and keep the process as transparent as possible.

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