Fears that the top seat of the Irrigation Department may not be handed over to the senior-most engineer who is next in line, are causing ripples of unease.
With the retirement of the current Irrigation Department Director-General Dr. G.G.A. Godaliyadde, in June, the next in line for the post is a woman Director and engineer of the department, the Sunday Times understands.The tradition for more than 100 years has been that the most senior Director of the department who is also an engineer is appointed to this post, a source said, a view held by many.
Usually, the successor is also named about a month before the top post falls vacant for easy and smooth transition, another source explained, pointing out that the name has to be submitted to Cabinet and approved, which process takes about a month.
There is a fear among the engineers that the tradition of appointing the senior-most Director-engineer may be thrown to the winds, with vested interests being instrumental in another being appointed.
The Irrigation Department Engineers’ Union has requested the Irrigation and Water Resources Management Ministry Secretary Ivan de Silva, to honour seniority and appoint the next in line, the Sunday Times learns.
The request has been made in a letter handed over to the Ministry Secretary on Friday by the union.
When contacted, a union source said that as a practice, when the top post falls vacant, the union sends such a request. Currently, there seems to be no issue about the new appointment but there has been speculation that someone else may be given the post, he said.The senior-most Director takes up the post of DG and as far as the documentation is concerned, what the union has, indicates that it should be the woman-engineer, the source said, explaining that Class 1 interviews had been held but the union has not been sent the list from the Ministry of Public Administration.
If two Directors have joined the department on the same day, then in addition to seniority, merit including how many publications they have to their credit etc., is also taken into account.
The woman Director, G.B.U. Kamaladasa, under whom comes Assets Management and Training is an expert on dams, it is learnt while the other is Upali Wickramaratne, an Additional Secretary of the Ministry. Both were unavailable for comment.
Meanwhile, many attempts to contact Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva and Ministry Secretary Ivan de Silva were also not fruitful.