Adhocism, stop gap arrangement a rule in J&K

When everybody is ‘incharge’, nobody does discharge duty
Excelsior Special Correspondent
JAMMU, May 3: Notwith-standing clear-cut instructions from Supreme Court of India to discourage adhocism, hundreds of gazetted officers, including Heads of Departments (HoDs) and Secretaries to the Gover-nment, are either holding additional charge of other substantive posts or officiating on substantive positions without the Government’s confirmation. All successive Governments since 1996 have promoted this adhocism, allegedly for vested interest of powerful people in the establishment.
Beginning from the top, Chief Minister Omar Abdullah himself has been “temporarily” holding the key portfolio of R&B since the removal of Ghulam Mohammad Saroori from the Cabinet on August 26th, 2010. He has also been holding the “additional charge” of another sensitive portfolio of Education since the resignation of Peerzada Mohammad Sayeed on February 10th, 2012.
Chief Minister has been substantively holding the portfolios of Power, General Administration Department, Information, Estates, Hospitality & Protocol, Civil Aviation etc. Being overburdened, he has assigned the responsibility of replying questions of some of his departments in Legislature to his Cabinet colleagues like Abdul Rahim Rather, Ali Mohammad Sagar and Nawang Rigzin Jora.
In different rungs of bureaucracy, Principal Secretary to Chief Minister, B B Vyas, has been holding the additional charge of Principal Secretary of Planning and Development since Khursheed Ahmad Ganai proceeded to the Central deputation last year. Commissioner-Secretary Higher Education, Mrs Tanvir Jahan, has been holding the additional charge of Commissioner-Secretary Health & Medical Education since Mr Ghulam Ahmad Pir retired on March 31, 2012.
Commissioner-Secretary Agriculture Production, Shaleen Kabra, has been holding the additional charge of Commissioner-Secretary Animal Husbandry and Sheep Husbandry since transfer of Bishen Das Sharma as Commissioner-Secretary Irrigation & PHE on December 16th, 2011. He has also been holding the additional charge of Commissioner-Secretary Cooperative since the retirement of Abdul Hamid Wani on March 31, 2012. His batch mate of IAS 1992, Bipul Pathak, has been without posting since his repatriation from the Central deputation earlier this year.
Commissioner-Secretary Revenue, Bashir Ahmad Roniyal, has been given the additional charge of Financial Commissioner Revenue on the retirement of Dr R K Jerath on April 30th, 2012.
A number of officers of the rank of Heads of Department are also holding “temporary charge” of key positions in civil administration. They include Commissioner of Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC), Dr Ghulam Nabi Qasba, who has been simultaneously given the additional charge of Vice Chairman of Srinagar Development Authority (SDA) last month. Of late, additional DDC Budgam, Mohammad Akbar Ganai, has been given the additional charge of DC Budgam upon retirement of Mohammad Rafi on April 30th.
In addition to this, a number of retired bureaucrats and senior officers have been re-employed and they have been holding key positions in different departments and corporations. Some of them have been designated as MDs, Consultants, Advisors and Officers on Special Duty (OSDs). At least two of them are already 75-year-old. The highest paid (Rs 88,000 a month) has been re-employed months after State Vigilance Organisation registered a case against him.
As regards the key technical departments like Forest, Power Development, Health and other works related departments, more than 70% of the officers are holding second or third higher position in the hierarchy as “stop gap arrangement” for years. Significantly, their elevation “in their own pay and grade” to the higher ranks is a blatant violation of the Supreme Court of  India’s directions, particularly to Jammu and Kashmir state, in the writ petition titled Suraj Prakash Gupta versus State, issued over a decade ago. According to the Government policy, officials can hold additional charge of other positions for not more than six months. The apex court had directed the State to substantively fill up all vacancies and ensure that no adhocism or stop gap arrangement was employed.
In the Department of Legal Metrology, Assistant Controllers have been functioning as Deputy Controllers and even Joint Controllers for years. In Health, at least three Assistant Directors, including Dr Saleem-ur-Rehman, have been posted on substantive posts of Directors. In PDD, over 60% of the AEEs have been officiating as “incharge Executive Engineers” for years, without the Departmental Promotion Committee’s clearance to their elevation. Some of them have been further pushed to the next elevation of Superintending Engineer or Chief Engineer without confirmation of DPC.
In Forest sector, most of the untrained and ill-educated Foresters have been officiating as Range Officers and Assistant Conservators of Forest (ACF) Grade One without DPC clearance or the confirmation from PCCF. In the same sector, Range Officers, Grade One, have been functioning as ACFs and DCFs (Divisional Forest Officers) for the last many years. Their political patrons have been managing their posting on top positions. In Srinagar itself, one of these backdoor beneficiaries has been functioning as DFO of Urban Forestry Division though he is still just an unconfirmed ACF. This is made possible with non-appointment of a confirmed DFO in particular divisions.

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