Backdoor postings at Kannur airport kick up a row

Backdoor postings at Kannur airport kick up a row

Thiruvananthapuram: Recruitments to the Kannur International Airport Limited (KIAL) company have triggered a controversy as it was alleged that a large number of appointments were made through the backdoor by violating norms.

The skewed pattern of recruitment brought to light glaring irregularities in the procedure. Applications had been invited for appointment to the post of Chief Operating Officer (COO), but the job title was changed to Chief Operations Officer after publishing the rank-list. The abbreviation was retained as COO so that the difference cannot be pointed out at a glance, it was alleged.

As compared to the Chief Operating Officer, the Chief Operations Officer has only a limited role to play in terms of administrative duties and tasks. The latter will only be responsible for overseeing the daily operations of the company. There are allegations that the move was intended to keep the COO away from dealing with key responsibilities such as business development and terminal operations.

Nepotism and favouritism were feared by the aspirants as instead of letting the Kerala Industrial and Technical Consultancy Organisation Limited (KITCO) handle the recruitment process, efforts are on to make fresh appointments through the backdoor.

The KIAL issued the notification for filling up as many as 45 posts including that of the chief operating officer, through KITCO on July 25. Subsequently, the rank-list for a majority of posts was published on November 27. The interview for the candidates applied for the position of chief operating officer was held in Thiruvananthapuram on October 5, but the applicants were not apprised of the change in the job title.

The rank-list prepared for appointment to the COO post was published separately after the inauguration of the airport on December 9. Utpal Baruah from Assam, who topped the rank-list, was selected for the post. He will take charge on Tuesday, it was learnt.

Applications had also been invited for some other posts such as senior manager (Fire and Safety), GM/DGM (airport operations), but no appointments were made citing absence of eligible candidates.

Though KITCO had issued a notification to fill the vacancy of Chief Operating Officer in May 2017, no further action was initiated.

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