Department of Shipping (DoS) Chief Inspector Mohammad Zahid Hossain, who was sent to forced retirement for his unauthorised absence from office and violation of service rules, is likely to get back his job.
DoS Director General has been asked to bring Zahid back in the job and accept his joining letter.
The Ministry of Shipping on February 9 made a directive to the authority for cancelling his forced retirement order, issued on June 9, 2013, as he had been absent from the office since February 1, 2012.
Director General Commodore M Zakiur Rahman Bhuiyan on Sunday told the Daily Observer that the DoS had received a letter from the Ministry asking for reinstatement of Zahid.
"The legal aspects of the letter are being examined by the officials of the department. Otherwise, we would be responsible for his return in the service as the department sent him to forced retirement due to his long absence from office and violation of service rules. Initiatives would be taken after analysing the matters," he said.
When asked, Shipping Secretary Shafique Alam Mehedi declined to comment on the matter. He said, "I'm not aware of the matter as I have to look after hundreds of issues every day. The officials concerned know the matter. It would be better to communicate with them regarding the matter."
Ministry's Joint Secretary Nasir Arif Mahmud admitted that the ministry had sent a letter to the DoS on February 9 to take steps to bring Zahid back in the service. The DoS will take further steps in this regard.
"It's true that Zahid was sent to forced retirement on June 9, 2013. The DoS authority had taken the decision without consulting with the Ministry of Shipping. Receiving a letter from the department, the ministry has sent it to the Public Service Commission (PSC) for its approval," he said, adding: "But the PSC authority denied approving the decision. They claimed that the decision was not taken following the rules."
"The PSC asked the ministry to bring him back in the service and take departmental actions against him. If he is found guilty, then he could be sent to forced retirement. Following the instruction of the PSC, the ministry has sent the letter to the department. They will take further steps," he said.
Muhibul Haque, Joint Secretary of APD wing of the Ministry of Public Administration, said remaining absent from office for three years is a punishable offence.
"No public servant can be taken back in the service without punishment after three years of his unauthorised absence from office. He must face punitive actions from his recruiting authority as per service rules. The authority should follow the service rules properly," he added.
When contacted, Chief Inspector Zahid Hossain, who is now serving the 'Capacity Development Project' of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), also denied making any comment in this connection.
According to the DoS officials, despite dearth of inspectors, the department has been run without chief inspector for the last four years. The post is vital as it ensures security of passengers and monitors vessels in inland waterways.
The DoS has to monitor and issue survey certificates of every water vessel in inland waterways. The nation has already experienced several unwanted incidents in waterways due to negligence and lack of proper monitoring on the plea of shortage of manpower.