Govt extends DGCAs tenure again

Written by Economy Bureau | New Delhi, Sep 1 | Updated: Sep 2 2008, 06:25am hrs
Just when Kanu Gohain thought that he had finally been allowed to retire as the director general of civil aviation (DGCA) after the ministry settled on Nassim Zaidi as his replacement, the government has again extended his term by another three months. He has already got two extensions of six months each, the last of which expired on Sunday, after superannuating last year.

The extensions were given in order to give the ministry of civil aviation and the department of personnel and training ample time to find a candidate with suitable qualifications to fill the post. This was harder than expected as very few who applied were qualified enough and those who are did not apply. They preferred private sector jobs that to be at the helm of the countrys aviation regulator, a ministry official said.

According to sources, new legal issues surrounding the appointment of Zaidi are the reason for the second extension. The government had even lowered the eligibility criteria for the post after facing severe difficulties finding a competent replacement.

Last month, the civil aviation ministry decided to appoint Naseem Ahmad Zaid, who is at present Indias representative at the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) in Geneva. After the ministry lowered the minimum eligibility conditions for the DGCAs post and announced that it had appointed Zaidi as the new DGCA pending ACC (Appointment Committee of Cabinet) approval, Gohains second-in-command A K Chopra moved the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) to protest the decision.

The CAT, last month, quashed Zaidis appointment on the petition of Chopra, who is presently the deputy Director General in DGCA, before the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet could approve it. It is believed that in three months, Chopra becomes the most eligible candidate for the post but the ministry is against his appointment.

His mindset and attitude are not suitable for the post, given the ministry and governments initiatives to promote and encourage the civil aviation sector in the country as a sunrise sector, a ministry official said on the condition of anonymity.