Established 100 years back, State Cooperative Bank fails to open branch in Jammu

Avtar Bhat
JAMMU, Dec 9: Despite being one of the oldest banks of the State established in 1918 by the then Maharaja of the State to provide banking facilities to the Government and act as State Coffer, it is surprising to note that the J&K State Cooperative Bank has failed to open its branch in Jammu region during last 100 years.
The Bank is at par with other banks of the State as well as nationalized banks and since its establishment, it has 38 working branches in Kashmir valley and Kargil district of Ladakh region but surprisingly not a single branch of the Bank was established in Jammu region during last 100 years of its establishment despite the fact that it has been even established much before the J&K Bank and has once acted as State treasury during Maharaja’s rule, sources said.
They added that even after the formation of democratic Government in the State in 1947 no efforts were made in last over 70 years by successive State Governments in opening the branch of the Bank in Jammu region which is another glaring example of discrimination towards this region.
Admitting that the Bank belongs to entire State and not only to Kashmir valley, authorities, however, said that they can’t say what have been the reasons that the Bank could not open its branch in Jammu region till date. However, they maintained that it is going to open its first branch in Narwal area of Jammu within some days.
Registrar Cooperatives J&K, Abdul Rehman Ghasi under whose administrative control the Bank was functioning said the Bank is for J&K State but he does not know why the Branch was not opened in Jammu region so far. He said even he has no knowledge that the Bank is going to open its first branch in Jammu next month.
However, General Manager of the Bank, Abdul Rashid Mir said that the Bank is opening its first branch in Jammu by this month. He said there can be many reasons why the bank could not open the branch in Jammu over these years and one can be the political interference also.
With Bank being marred by various controversies over the years and recent one being the recruitment scam, but Government has failed to act the officers involved in it. As Government failed to act against the tainted officers, there has been a growing public pressure that it too should be brought under the Public Sector Undertaking, Right To Information (RTI) Act, Vigilance Commission and State Legislature by the Government as was done by State Administrative Council (SAC) recently in case of JK Bank.
Various organizations including the BJP has demanded that Bank including other cooperative institutes of the State be brought under RTI and they also have made a strong appeal to Governor in this regard.
Sources said that Bank authorities have maintained total monopoly especially in making the recruitments as it lacks the proper control of Government. Even recently one deputation of the people have met the Advisor to Governor seeking the Government’s intervention in making the functioning of the Bank smooth and freeing it from the clutches of its administrative head having political clout.
Sources said the Bank’s administrative head who is in news for over a year now for his involvement in recruitment scam and fraud has also been indicted by Crime Investigation Department (CID) of the State Government.
The CID in its report submitted to Government recently had stated that verification made by it revealed that incumbent chairman has indulged in corruption, nepotism and arbitrary procedures as far as recruitment , promotions and other financial matters are concerned.
It further said that investigation made by it has revealed that the three persons who were appointed in the Bank after 2012 were close relatives or have close acquaintance with him who has also made the appointment of six class fourth employees in the Bank on the basis of favoritism. It said the Officer has appointed his kith and kin on ulterior motives and has conferred pecuniary benefits upon them.
The report further added that the management had not advertised the posts which were filled by the officer as per his own whims and without following due procedures of recruitment.
The CID report said that the findings to the truthfulness of the allegations raised sufficient apprehensions that the subject has abused his official position to confer undue advantage upon himself and the illegal beneficiaries and the omissions and commissions committed by him may amount to offences punishable under Section 5(2) of J&K P C Act.
The report further said that the officer has made property disproportionate to his known source of income during this period which included mansions worth crores of rupees and has also made fraud in sale purchase of land to putting State exchequer to a loss of Rs 3.56 crore.