The honeymoon period for retired officers turning consultants in the Airports Authority of India is likely to get over soon. The office has now decided to review their performance and their role before extending their consultancy any further.
Most of the officers who join as consultants, leave important matters pending during their tenures, only to get a consultancy soon after retirement to pursue them. The targets that these consultants should have delivered while in service are first delayed. The same officials then join the office as consultants to roll out the plan. With more than 50 retired officials currently working as consultants with the AAI, the office has now decided to review their role and to see whether or not are they actually required in the system.
The AAI chairman, Alok Sinha, issued an order about three weeks ago asking all departments to review the performance of the consultants before extending their consultancy. The chairman has also asked the departments to renew their contracts only if the department is over worked and cannot do without the consultant.
A senior AAI officer retired as executive director, air traffic management. It was during his tenure that the new standard for reduced vertical supersession (RVS) was introduced. This new guideline slashed the distance between two aircraft in the air from 2,000km to 1,00km.
The officer was to implement this new guideline during his tenure in the air traffic management department. “For one and a half years the office kept sitting on the file. Within weeks after his retirement, he joined AAI as consultant to implement the same guideline,” informed a senior officer of ATM department.
The consultant then remained in the office for another one year to roll out the plan. In this one year tenure besides drawing his pension, the officer also drew his consultancy fee. Any consultant working with the AAI gets a consultancy fee of Rs 50,000 a month and some perks including fuel and telephone bill.
This is no isolated case. Every second consultant working with the AAI has a similar story. Some of these consultants working with the AAI were either charge-sheeted during their tenure or have some vigilance inquiry pending. “Every second office wants to play second innings and they leave their options open. A recommendation from the department head and an approval from the ministry is easily sought to re-enter the office,” added the officer.
AAI alone has over 50 consultant. Some of whom are actually not required. When Alok Sinha took over as chairman of AAI, his own office had three consultants. He soon realised that he did not need any.
“They actually had no work in my office so I released them,” said Sinha. He has also issued an order that the performance of the consultants will now be reviewed by the general managers of the departments concerned. “The contract of the consultants will only be renewed, only if the department is satisfied with the performance of the consultants and feels that they are required,” added Sinha.