The recently notified Postmasters cadre has evoked several comments and views from different quarters. I have seen some comments in this blog from our members expressing apprehensions that the PM cadre will further squeeze the promotion prospects of IP line officials as the recruitment rules of PM cadre envisages more percentage of posts to General line officials out of the existing posts of Gr.B which has remained static since long as there has been no cadre review.
I have also gone through the views of general line officials posted in different blogs which indicate that the promotional prospect through the channel of Postmaster cadre is not so attractive as the projected promotion to PS Gr. B post by selection through seniority process to the extent of share for them will not be beneficial to many of the aspirants. The general line has demanded that the whole of the PM Gr. B posts should go to the general line officials. It appears that both IP line and General line officials have their reservations about the PM cadre through many young aspirants in general line have now become enthusiastic as another channel of promotion opens up for them. This is exactly the intention of the Govt. as it aims at introducing ‘professionalism’ through young blood by engaging a dedicated cadre for better customer satisfaction and better service out-put.
Despite reservations and apprehensions of both IP line and General line cadre officials it is now a reality that a new Postmaster cadre has born. The issue whether or not the Department has taken staff side into confidence stands sidelined.
My personal experience in the context of the position in Odisha Circle is that many IP line officials hesitate to take up the job in Postmaster line which is considered to be something coming under the domain of operative work. Another aspect which creates an anomalous position is that ASPs are Gazetted but the post of PM in HSG-I which is of non-Gazetted status is held by ASPs. In such circumstances, the demand of general line officials to concede all the Postmasters post to them does not appear entirely unjustified though many of our members in IP cadre may not appreciate such a view.
In my personal opinion, we should not join issues with our brethren in general line to oppose their demand for more promotional prospects. We should recollect our past that the IP line officials (those have come on promotion) take their root in the very same general line with whom we continue to work at the field level. It is not proper to give a projection that we are opposed to each other while it comes to our own interest. Perhaps it is time the IP line should examine with reference to statistics if the entire promotional posts of PM in PS Gr.B can be conceded to general line officials in exchange of 6% of posts they are taking through PS Gr.B Exam. No doubt, the matter needs debate before a concrete view emerges.
The Department has now instituted a Committee to have cadre review of general line officials. The Department in its wisdom has not even bothered to think of such a review in respect of IP line officials even through the demand for cadre review of IP line officials continues to remain alive since 1990. In my opinion, the Association forum of IP line officials should go after the demand with the Department for cadre review for them to have more promotional prospects. The revised avenue of promotional prospect of IP line officials should include offsetting of the loss the IP line officials are going to have on implementation of postmaster cadre. It is expected of the Govt. to protect the interest of IP line officials in its own interest to see that the promotional prospect of an IP line official is not overtaken by the promotional prospect of Postmaster cadre official. This is because, the status of IP is obviously higher than the PM Grade-I cadre.
If the Department further ignores the long standing demand of IP line officials for cadre review, we should move our members to keep them ready for appropriate agitational measures including strike. We have had enough of begging. Now it is time we concentrated on our plan of action to prepare for agitational action including strike with or without the support of general line officials since it is observed that the Govt. only understands the language of agitation. All other methods of approaching the Govt to do justice for us have vanished into wilderness.
It is hoped that the CHQ will deliberate this issue in the ongoing CWC meeting and will arrive at a suitable decision. The CWC of AIAIASP, Odisha Circle Branch has already passed a resolution to support the CHQ in whatever way it decides appropriate to launch the agitational programme.
B B Mohanty
Circle Secretary, AIAIASP, Odisha Circle Branch.
NB: The views expressed herein does not reflect the opinion of AIAIASP, Odisha Circle Branch. This is the personal view of the CS. The Postmasrters cadre issue could not be discussed in detail in last CWC meeting due to want of time and want of detailed information.