Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Interview: Jalaj Srivastava, Principal Secretary | MF Samson is a Disaster: Jalaj

Interview: Jalaj Srivastava,
Principal Secretary, Shipping, Planning and Revenue

MF Samson is a Disaster: Jalaj

Capt Seshasai is learnt to have been repatriated after the corruption charges against him. Will the buck stop at him or are there more people involved?
We are fully aware of many issues during the period of Capt Seshasai, but his repatriation was purely an administrative decision, nothing to do with corruption charges. The Director was not technically competent to take major decisions on procurement. Most of the administrative decisions taken by the Director were also not very sound. The file on corruption charges is with Secretary Vigilance.
Anyway, there is no attempt to protect Capt Seshasai. As far as I know, he is fully trapped. I have learnt that there are more than 4 people whose name features in the charge sheet. We have already shunted some of them out of DSS.
There are many decisions, where Seshasai has taken us for a ride. MF Samsun is a disaster. We were fooled by Capt Seshasai. The contract was given to Shipping Corporation of India. Capt Seshasai co-opted and went and made a very bad selection. The whole selection process was flawed. It was purely a "swayamvar."  The L1 ship was rejected on whimsical reasons. There was no comparative statement. Moreover, we were time and again told by Capt Seshasai that it's a 600-pax ship, whereas, I had personally asked Secretary to count and found out that it can only accommodate 344 and odd passengers. We are paying about Rs 9 lakh for a 40-year old ship, which cannot run on its optimum speed. The air-conditioning shuts down if it's run on designed speed more than 11 knots. We are planning to immediately send the ship back.

DSS is the second largest fleet after SCI. But we don't possess Document of Compliance. There are so many issues with the Regulatory bodies. Why is DSS not upgraded into Shipping Corporation? Why Shipping is missing from the IDA agenda?
During the recent visit of Minister of Shipping, all these issues came up for discussion.  He has assured that for the liaison issues with SCI, DG Shipping, MMD and IRS, there will be a high-powered committee. It will be headed with Jt Secretary Shipping and from our side; person incharge of Shipping will attend the meetings. The first meeting of the Committee was held on 16 Oct, in which Secretary, Shipping too attended in which three issues were broadly decided - strengthening of port management and infrastructure, the Ministry of Shipping will ensure that all Govt institutions like IRS, MMD, DG Shipping and SCI will upgrade their facilities here. Two Chief Engineer-level persons from SCI will be posted here. We don't have to send all papers to Kolkata to IRS as they will have full-fledged office here itself.
As majority of issues have been already sorted, it does not feature in the agenda of Standing Committee of IDA. On the morning of 17 Oct, Secretary, Planning Commission also took a meeting in which many other issues related with Shipping came up for discussion. We hope that the high-powered committee is the answer to many of our problems.
Moreover, the Standing Committee Meeting of IDA is held only once a year, and the IDA meeting in two years. What we should do is most of the issues we are fighting should be taken up in the monitoring committee under Planning Commission, which meets more frequently.

Why the Admn does not consult anybody before the agenda for IDA is finalized?
You are right. There should have been an all party meeting, PRIs and other civil society organizations before the IDA agenda is taken to Planning Commission.  Even public spirited citizens can give their viewpoint. But we have seen that the last IDA meeting began and ended with a fiasco. In the agenda we had listed outstanding issues, tourism policy, Jarawa policy and suggestions of the MP. But, time did not permit to address all issues.

Why issues like waiving off of Rapid EIA for bathrooms, changing rooms and wayside amenities feature in IDA meetings? Is it not frivolous? Why can't such issues be sorted out at local level?
It's not a frivolous matter. The Dept of Environment and Forest has been creating hurdles at every stage.  The Ministry of Environment and Forests have taken a stand that even such minor issues should go to their standing committee. Since we have formed ANCZMA, all such issues should be sorted out at Chief Secretary Level. For instance, the Lieutenant Governor had sent a communication regarding a clearance to MoEF almost a year ago. But, MoEF denies saying that they have not received the letter. Even Shashi Kumar, PCCF said that he had sent it eleven months ago. Now, when such discussions come up at IDA meeting, it shows the apathy of MoEF.

What is the status of quarry auctioning? Do you think auction can rationalize the price of end-products?
In the last week a lot has happened. The auction notice for quarry sites is already out. The royalty has been revised from Rs 1.77 per cbm to Rs 5 per cbm. If we had increased it further, it would have become a reason to hike the price of end-product. It is the prerogative of the quarry owners; however, he cannot hike the price which is beyond the reach of common people. We need to look into this.


Capt.M.Piyush said...

Dear Editor,
Thanks for an important article.
Hence the following points may kindly be perused by the concerned department to provide safe running of DSS & management of PMB.
 These Posts of Harbor Master & Director of Shipping Service have been continuously carried out in non-conformation by violating the norms of Recruitment Rule approved by UPSC and notified by A & N Administration vide Gazette Notification no.143 dated 29th September, 1993.
 Further this has been ascertained that the designation of Director, Shipping Services is equivalent to Harbor Master and the Recruitment Rule for both the posts are same. In this regard a reference may kindly be drawn to the clause no 4.5 & 4.6 of the Order no 955 dated 21st Feb 1989 issued by Mr. BV Selvaraj, then Secretary (Shipping & Transport) of A & N Administration (Later as The Administrator of Lakshadweep & Minicoy Islands).
 In order to avoid any kind of confusion between the existing Harbor Master then and Harbor Master for which the post was in creation for Port Management Board; the existing post of Harbor Master in Pre-Marine then was re-designated as Director of Shipping.
 PMB/DSS have persuaded in Contempt of Apex Court Order by ignoring Supreme Court Judgment for the case no-(2004) 04 SCC 540 continuously due to their inadvertent misconception & deliberate ignorance to certain extent.
 It is pertinent to refer the declaration of Certified Judgment of the Supreme Court verdict for the case no. (2004) 04 SCC 540, resulting in deletion of section 80 of Merchant Shipping Act, 1958 as amended till date thus approving the distinction between Certificate of Competency (Held by FG Master Mariners from Merchant Navy) and Certificate of Service (Held by Commanders/Captains from Indian Navy), which is clearly based on intelligible differentia.
 Cdr. Ashwini Kumar (Present Harbor Master, holding charges for CPA & DSS) or any other Cdr/Capt from Indian Navy are not in possession of Certificate of Competency as Master (Foreign Going) and don’t have any expertise as Registered Pilot of any port trust, which being one of the prime criteria of Recruitment Rule as approved by UPSC and further notified by A & N Administration vide Gazette Notification no.143 dated 29th September, 1993. Cdr. Ashwini Kumar (Certificate of Service) has been further continued on extension by contract after retirement from his parent department in spite of the fact that he does not qualify for the said post vide Recruitment Rule and further have exceeded his superannuation age too.
 In this regard a reference may kindly be drawn to the Circular No. 45/2000-PW, issued on 8th August, 2007 by Smt Rinku Dhugga, then Secretary (Personnel) of A&N Administration, in adherence to OM No. 26012/6-2002-Estt (A), dated 09/12/2002, which directs that no proposal for employment of a Government servant beyond the age of superannuation of 60 years shall be considered. This order also further clarifies that no person can be appointed/reappointed to Central Government service after the date of superannuation of 60 years through contract
 Merchant ship's design, construction, operation, manning and management practices have become considerably specialized and vastly different from those of naval ships. Thus Port operation/management is carried out especially for the commercial interest & national revenues which is not possible without the merchant ships and Master Mariners or Extra Masters.

Capt.M.Piyush said...

 The fair practice to screen candidates during the process of selection should be with the ultimate objective of selecting candidates with higher eligible qualifications and none of the candidates from Indian Navy is in possession of Certificate of Competency as Master (FG), nor has any experience as Registered Pilot. It is therefore quite transparent in reference to the Recruitment Rule and their respective clauses that Educational Qualification & Experience cannot be substituted or dispensed with and it is the most essential criteria for any method of recruitment. The decision regarding short listing the number of candidates who have applied for the post must not be based on any extraneous consideration, but only to aid the process of selection of the best candidates among the applicants for the post in question.
 This process of short-listing shall not amount to altering or substituting the eligibility criteria given in statutory rules or prospectus. In the present case of Harbor Master, for the purpose of short listing & recruitment, a stipulated period of experience as Pilot has been prescribed as an additional criterion in respect to holding of Certificate of Competency as Master (FG). If the duties (Responsibilities of Port operation, Surveying & Navigational facilities) of Harbor Masters (Including Assistant Harbor Master) & Directors of Shipping (Including Deputy Directors) are performed by non-qualified personnel; does not only quake the risk of safety of lives but quintessentially becomes a severe non-compliance of shipping and port rules/Acts as constituted by Central Government of India. Thus it has been made mandatory matrix to be qualified as Master Mariner (Foreign Going) in all ports of India as well as rest of the world.
 Since method of appointment for Harbor Master & Director of Shipping being first by promotion, secondly by deputation and finally by direct recruit and as there is no qualified candidate available vide Recruitment Rule for first or second method why should not the available candidate, qualified as per RR be selected through duly processed selection committee, fulfilling all the necessary and essential ingredients of the Recruitment Rule and none available with more qualification than that of the candidate available in these archipelagos of AN Islands?
 Certificate of Competency (COC) as Master (FG) that is issued by Director General of Shipping under the Ministry of Shipping, the only authorized agency in India for International Maritime Organization and responsible for implementation of STCW-95/98 convention and Naval Commanders are in possession of Certificate of Service (COS) which is never equivalent to COC due to intelligible differentia, these regulations are approved by the DG shipping on behalf of the Ministry of Shipping and have come into force from 1st February, 2002; as per IMO regulation under UNCLOS.
Best Regards.

Zubair Ahmed said...

Dear Capt Piyush,
Thanks for the enlightening comment. This angle needs to be highlighted. regards, Zubair.

Capt.M.Piyush said...

Dear Zubair,
Salaam Walekum.
Thanks for your prompt ackmowledgement.
Why don't the AN Administration upgrade the Department of Shipping and Port Management Board by recruiting/appointing officers as per RR rather than outsourcing to other govt.agencies since it is well understood that one can definitely look after his own house better than other and too many experts/crooks will only spoil the show. Insha Allah.
Warm Regards,
Capt.Piyush (919476052733 & 918583936370)