Thursday, October 12, 2006

In 2005 Delhi promised Rs 1342 crores

Year after only 432.01 crores released 
Earthquake victims wait for 2nd installment 
Naseer A Ganai
Srinagar, Oct 12: The New Delhi which last year had promised the state of whopping aid in view of earthquake has failed to fulfill its promise.
Reports submitted by the State government before the Division Bench of the High Court are showing that Government has so far received Rs 432.01 crores. 
The State government had sought financial assistance of Rs 1342 crore from the centre government for relief and rehabilitation of earthquake hit victims. 
The Government claims that it has spent Rs 542.21 crores on the victims of earthquake so far.  
In Varmul district alone 14500 suffers have not been paid their second and third installment. The additional commissioner Varmul informed the Court that he requires Rs 90 crore to provide second and third installment to people.  
The situation is not different in Kupwara district. The additional deputy commissioner Kupwara informed the Court that 3160 victims were not paid second and third installment and said he requires Rs 30 crore.  
The Divisional Commissioner Kashmir said that the State government had decided to release an amount of Rs 52.00 crore to meet the expenditure of second and third installment. He said money has been released with Rs 25 crore released to DC Varmul and Rs 20 crore to DC Kupwara.
The Division Bench of the High Court comprising Chief Justice B.A Khan and Justice Bashir A. Kirmani directed the State government to pay second and third installment to the victims before on set of winter before December 20, 2006. The Court also directed the Chief Secretary to arrange required funds for the Deputy Commissioner Varmul and Deputy Commissioner Kupwara. The Court asked the secretary to Government of India Ministry of Finance that funds committed by the central government shall be released before the onset of earthquake. The case is listed for hearing on October 16. On this day the government have to provide latest details about the release of funds to the Court. 

Saturday, October 7, 2006

Pick-n-Choose Departmental Store of GAD-Aisi 'Azadi' Aur Kahan

Pick-n-Choose Departmental Store of GAD – Aisi 'Azad'i Aur Kahan
More judicial activism is needed to "highlight" GAD's love for the blue-eyed
Naseer A Ganai
Srinagar, October 7, 2006:- The recent censure of the State High Court (HC) when it took suo moto action to seek an explanation from the Government for promotion of a junior judicial officer (Munsiff) Afroz Mir to the post of Director, Defence Labour Procurement (DLP) has again brought to light the murky ways of the General Administration Department (GAD), which has been working as a job-finder outpost for the blue-eyed kin of our politicians and bureaucrats.
Little fact of the matter is that Afroz, who was promoted "in the interest of administration" from the post of an under secretary (he was working as an Assistant Legal Remembrancer in the Law Department where he was already on deputation) to the post of Director DLP, which is a special secretary post, because he was the son of an ex-Minister and a senior PDP leader Ghulam Hassan Mir. That what is shocking also is the fact that the decision was taken in the absence of Commissioner Secretary GAD, Khursheed Ahmad Ganai, who was away in England attending a training course
The HC censure has opened a can of worms in the GAD with more skeletons tumbling out and embarrassing the GAD for its naughty rule twisting exercises to benefit people having considerable influence in the corridors of power.
The recent appointment of an Audit Officer in the State Cooperative Department Mehmood Ahmad Shah as Assistant Commissioner Development (ACD) Srinagar along with three other Deputy Registrars of the same department has caused much heartburn in the 1999 KAS/CCS batch. Rubbishing aside the PSC merit list, Shah, who figures at Serial No.105 has been made ACD ahead of over a 100 other officers triggering a near revolt from the 1999 KAS/CCS officers. Sources revealed that Shah has been picked as he happens to be the elder brother of the son-in-law of a senior bureaucrat, considered to be one of the most powerful in the state administration.
" Mehmood has benefited because of faulty existing rules within GAD for direct recruits appointed by the PSC. While they retain top 5-6 candidates and confer junior KAS status on them, the remainder are dumped in 17 feeding cadre services where their inter se seniority is fixed along with other promotees. Hence the present stalemate," explains an under secretary of the 1999 batch preferring anonymity. "A common seniority list within the GAD paving way for promotion into the senior cadre strictly as per the merit fixed by PSC is the solution to the crisis," added the officer. An outcome of the faulty system can be gauged from the fact that the 1999 batch CCS officers allotted Industries and Revenue Departments are running from pillar-to-post for fixation of seniority within the department. Shockingly, the Industries Department is yet to fix seniority of its officers for the last more than 22 years. In fact, another batch of 23 candidates allotted Industries Department in 2001 is also sailing in the same boat.
A delegation of the 1999 batch officers have met the Chief Minister Mr. Ghulam Nabi Azad and brought this serious issue to his notice. "The CM has taken note and the matter has been referred to the Chief Secretary. We hope our grievances are redressed," hopes another officer from the 1999 batch.
Of the 260 candidates selected in 1999, after a hiatus of nearly 15 years, 6 were conferred junior KAS, 81 were recruited into police and 40 were allotted Accounts service. The remaining candidates were distributed into 17 general feeding services. Interestingly, the junior KAS officers were promoted in a time-bound manner in 2003 strictly as per merit obtained in PSC exam. Ditto for police and accounts services where most of the officers have already been promoted as SPs and Financial Advisors. "How much more humiliation will we take. Not only have we seen our batch-mates promoted in 2003 but the junior KAS of 2001 batch have also been promoted this year. To rub salt into our wounds, now a batch-mate figuring at Serial No.105 has carved his way past over 100 colleagues to the post of ACD, courtesy GAD," rues a Tehsildar who figures much ahead of his fellow officer. The officers have been for years demanding issuance of a common seniority which, it seems for now, has no takers. Ironically, those officers are finding themselves in the lurch for whom this service has been primarily created.
Sources revealed that the Establishment-cum-Selection Committee constituted by the Government, which is blowing hot and cold over the issue of common seniority, has now rejected in principal the concept of common seniority retrospectively with the remarks that the issue can be considered prospectively. Reliable sources have further revealed that the Establishment Committee had earlier agreed to the proposal when Mr. Vijay Bakaya headed the state administration. "It is a mystery that why the proposal was not tabled for the cabinet nod," says another under secretary. It has been learnt that another blue-eyed boy lurking down in the PSC merit list will be "reprieved" by the present system and a member of the Establishment Committee is working overtime to ensure that the common seniority doesn't take effect retrospectively. "It is a strange remedy. It is just like a doctor telling fellow doctors that Aids vaccine should not be given to people living now but those who will take birth later," says an ETO of 1999 batch.
Ironically the Chief Secretary Mr. C. Phunsong and Commissioner Secretary GAD Mr. Khursheed Ahmad Ganai, whom Greater Kashmir talked to, seemed to agree that a common seniority list is the solution to the crisis that is certain to aggravate if not addressed immediately. It has been learnt that Ganai is "unhappy" that such important decisions were taken in his absence and also when he was about to resume services in a week's time.
Sources revealed that there is a strong politician-bureaucrat lobby that is preventing the issuance of a common seniority list. "A common seniority will stop this joke of pick-n-choose policy shown largely in the interest of administration and also stop the government from picking blue-eyed officers for lucrative postings. It will also sound a death-knell of another routine policy of appointing officers to higher cadre posts in OPG ( Own Pay & Grade) that has been done in case of Afroz Mir and Mehmood Ahmad Shah," says an under secretary.
Such is the state of working in the GAD that it seems whenever another transfer/posting order is issued, the state High Court will have to take suo moto look for more Afrozes and Mehmoods tucked lucratively somewhere towards the lower end of the list. Unless that happens, the GAD will continue to behave like a departmental store where the mighty and the influential will reap illegitimate benefits by relaxing rules and yes again in the interest of administration!!!

Tuesday, October 3, 2006

In JK, Govt doesn't respect merit

Resentment brewing in KAS cadre
Srinagar, Oct 3: The recent government order to promote four officers of the Cooperative Department to higher posts in other departments has again brought focus on Combined Civil Services Examination or KAS with officers of prime feeding services accusing the government of making a mockery of merit. 
Last week the government passed two orders promoting Mahmood Ahmad Shah, Deputy Registrar Cooperative as Assistant Commissioner Development in Rural Development Department, Ghulam Rasool Kar, Deputy Registrar Cooperative has been posted in higher cadre in other department, Tanveer Iqbal, Deputy Registrar Cooperative as SDM Mahore, Anuradha, Deputy Registrar as Development Officer in Handicrafts. 
The promotion of these four officers who, according to Under Secretaries in Revenue Department, were figuring in “least priority department” after they qualified the KAS examination in 1999, has caused resentment among the officers in the Secretariat and the Revenue services. 
“There are 17 feeding cadres and candidates are allotted feeding services as per the merit. The toppers get Secretariat, Revenue services and other services and those who with lower merit get Cooperative and Stationary services,” said an Under Secretary. 
He said government by promoting four officials as ACDs has made mockery of the merit list. “Tomorrow when they will be confirmed and they people will be our seniors,” he added. The officers say if the government had to promote some officials why did it choose those who stood at the tail of merit list. 
It is not the first time when officers are feeling dejected by government’s handling of the issue. Earlier, there was row over the induction of junior KAS. In 1999, 260 candidates qualified the CCS with 81 and 32 joining the Police and the Accounts services respectively and six candidates were designated as junior KAS. 
In 2002, another batch came up and in it four candidates were taken into junior KAS. Now as the induction of 1999 batch officers seems remote possibility, these four candidates who are many years junior to them will be officers of their seniors. 
The officers say Jammu and Kashmir Administrative Service Rules suffer from inherent deficiencies, and the objective of providing equal opportunities to officers selected through Combined Competitive Examination is not being achieved. In some services, they say, the faulty system also helps candidates with lower merit to get an opportunity of induction before the candidates with higher merits where the vacancies have not become available for one or the other reason. 
They argue that the Combined Service Officers as a whole should be an exclusive group, who come through a common entrance test or a competitive examination conducted by the PSC. And logically, this group should be promoted to the next scales on the basis of their merit obtained in the competitive examinations notwithstanding their allocation of services, which can at best be treated as an administrative exigency, they said. 
Sources said the government had earlier constituted Establishment Committee headed by former Chief Secretary Vijay Bakaya to frame common seniority for KAS. The committee agreed that the common seniority should be framed for the KAS, sources said. But then proposal was never tabled before the cabinet. 
However, Chief Secretary C Phunsog described the promotions as ad hoc ones and said that the government was seriously thinking over common seniority. He said the government was examining common seniority proposal and wants that it should be on the pattern of the IAS and other competitive services. He said he could understand the resentment among the officials who were at higher position in merit list but under old rules they were not getting benefit. 
The Commissioner Secretary General Administrative Department, Khursheed Ahmad Ganai describes promotion of the four officials as interim measure. He said they have been promoted under replacement method following vacancies of some posts occupied by officers who were originally from Cooperative services. 
Ganai said the government was seriously considering combined seniority for combined services as per the merit list of the examination. He agreed that presently the merit list gets disturbed due to replacement method.