JAMMU, Feb 28: Incredible it may sound to many, but it is true that over 4400 employees are in place in the Department of Food, Civil Supplies & Public Distribution (FCS&PD) in Kashmir province, while hardly 600 employees are running the affairs of the Department in 10 districts of Jammu province which is facing shortage of over 40 % of the staff.
Highly placed sources in the FCS&PD department told the “Excelsior” that against the sanctioned strength of 4900 employees in the CAPD department in Kashmir, just 983 is the sanctioned strength of employees including Gazetted, Non-Gazetted and Class- IV in Jammu province, despite the fact that Kashmir region’s area is equivalent to erstwhile Doda district of Jammu region. They said that for the last more than two decades a very negligible recruitment in the department took place in Jammu province to fill up the vacant posts but in Kashmir it happened thrice during last seven years.
This glaring example of discrimination within a Government department has exposed the system and the people at the helm of affairs, who never bothered to do justice with the other region and allowed the people to suffer in view of poor delivery of essential services for decades. The food supplies in many remote areas of Kishtwar, Doda, Ramban, Rajouri, Reasi, Udhampur and Kathua in Jammu province could not be streamlined since decades because no sincere efforts were made by the concerned people at the helm of affairs. They failed to maintain balance between the two regions.
Sources further said that after the creation of new administrative units (Tehsils/ Blocks/ Sub Divisions), no new infrastructure was created by the department or much needed staff appointed there. Interestingly, 77 new Tehsils were created in Jammu province and 56 in Kashmir but new TSOs and other staff was not appointed.
New units were allowed to function through the old existing staff within the department. Even class -IV employees were made to work against the higher posts of even Incharge salesmen- cum- storekeepers. At many places one TSO is functioning at 2-3 places and similar is position in case of a few ADs and many Store-keepers/ inspectors/ supervisors etc.
Sources disclosed that in Jammu province, the department is reeling under the shortage of about 40 % of staff. Even some officials are holding two to three additional charges, to run the show. In Kashmir region, there is excess staff in many FCS&PD offices. Due to shortage of staff especially in rural and far flung areas of Jammu, the general public is suffering badly. The shortage of supervisory staff has also given rise to the pilferage of ration and scandals in the department during last few decades became headlines of the newspapers.
The system in the department needs restructuring/ reorganization. Full computerisation of the record and installation of GPS system in the vehicles will help a lot to check the pilferage of food- grains. Concerned Minister Ch Zulfkar Ali has taken some initiatives to improve the things and check pilferage in the department, sources added.
Sources disclosed that many posts of Gazetted, Non-Gazetted and Class-IV cadre are lying vacant in Jammu region. Some Gazetted cadre posts were filled up in the Department, providing some relief to the over burdened staff of the department, but not much pain was taken in last two decades to fill up the posts in FCS&PD department in Jammu region. It is also fact that there are hardly 15-20 % Govt Sales depots in Jammu region while in Kashmir, about 90 % are Govt depots.
Minister for FCS&PD Department, Ch Zulfkar Ali when asked about the discrimination in Jammu region within the department and measures being taken to remove the same, said that to remove disparity the process of reorganization of the department has been initiated. The proposal is pending before GAD at present,
The process of manpower audit in the Department has also been initiated by the Government. He said since decades, it has been observed that sanctioned strength of staff in Kashmir is higher because Government run ration sale outlets are more in Kashmir as compared to Jammu region. He said about 90 % depots in Kashmir are being run by Govt while in Jammu same percentage is of private/ commission based depots. He claimed that in Kashmir there are nearly 3500 Govt ration sale outlets while in Jammu their number is hardly 100.
He claimed that in Jammu region, more than 300 posts are lying vacant and these have been referred to the SSB and other agencies for recruitment. For filling up posts of Class- IV staff, the process was started some time back but this process has been stalled due to stay from the High Court. It is compulsion of the department to run the system with internal arrangement and provide additional charge to some employees. He said about 500 posts are also lying vacant in Kashmir region and the same are being referred to SSB.
Director FCS &PD Jammu, R A Inqlabi when contacted admitted that there is shortage of staff in many districts of Jammu region. He further maintained that requisition in this regard was sent to the Administrative Department and they said to have referred the posts to the SSB.
Inqlabi said the sanctioned strength of the employees in Jammu region including Class- IV is 983. About 400 posts at present are lying vacant. No additional Non-Gazetted posts were created after creation of new tehsils and other administrative units in Jammu division. The Department is running the show with the internal; arrangement.
Replying to another question, he said Gazetted cadre posts are filled up through direct recruitment of KAS officers and the promotees from the department. He said many new Administrative units were created but no new infrastructure has been raised anywhere in the new Tehsils. There is also need to modify the old existing recruitment rules. He said some new ration deports/ fair price shops have been sanctioned on demand of the people in some areas and the process was still in progress.