Fill vacant posts of BDOs

We hail the decision of the Government in respect of holding elections to the Block Development Councils and there should be no delay in that exercise. At the same time, it is a matter of concern and an unequal measure where one part reveals more than 50 per cent of Blocks having no full time Block Development Officers and the second part hyping about elections when the Government being not only reticent about when it was going to arrange filling the vacant posts but was found totally unconcerned about the issue. If there is any concern for a Block, it is meaningless without bringing in the role of a Block Development Officer (BDO). In fact, we do not feel that the administrative system of the Government deserved to be guided as to what important and crucial role was expected to be played by a BDO for proper and successful execution of various developmental works entrusted to the Block Office.
As Head of the Block office, a BDO has tremendous responsibilities and a greater role to play towards serving and developing the Block in which he was assisted by technical staff, ministerial staff and a team of officers. In fact, if it is said that he was a leader of the team looking after and executing developmental activities of the Block, it was no exaggeration. He or she is the coordinator and leader of the team of the development workers. The crucial role played by a BDO in facilitating the Councils to perform their duties and functions under the Jammu and Kashmir Panchayati Raj Act cannot be underestimated. Having said this, how can more than half of the existing Councils in Jammu and Kashmir said to be satisfactorily functioning without BDOs. The mess has been accentuated primarily due to uncalled for decisions, mainly political in nature, by earlier State Governments to ‘create’ large number of Blocks without having regard for eligibility criteria for appointment of BDOs and ineligible and blue eyed officials who appeared to be interested in reaping political benefits conferred on them than looking to their “assignments” were appointed.
We are also conscious of the fact that adhocism and patch ‘cosmetic repairing’ working recourse was rampant in the working culture of the administrative system which speaks for instances where one Block Development Officer otherwise being Secretary of the BDC, was asked to hold additional charge of one or two adjoining Blocks. It is left to no conjectures as to what justice the said BDO could be doing with additional Blocks and in the process, how his own Block too would be suffering. It is evident that funds spent on “developmental works” must not be showing the desired results in the absence of proper supervision and pointed monitoring. When instructions are to such ‘overburdened’ BDOs to stagger their duties and timing between different Blocks, it was resulting in the non availability of the BDO at the parent Block for most of the time due to this adhocism. In turn, it was resulting in the people suffering as their issues and works were not attended to and were getting delayed.
The role of the Rural Development Department in the entire issue too is not satisfactory. Has the Department done its job by holding Departmental Promotion Committee meetings during the last couple of years, in many cases not even for over a decade ? At the outset, that Department in itself required a proper overhaul to make it attuned to the needs and aspirations of the rural sector and in the instant case, how many times have they approached the concerned General Administration Department to at least fill up the vacancies of the BDOs making it clear as to how the concerned Blocks were suffering. Like this, the process of imminent elections could not bring about the desired results unless Block offices were provided with the required infrastructure of the manpower, least the BDOs. However, we are given to understand that the RDD has ‘written’ to the GAD about the issue but of no avail. There was no dearth or non availability of the eligible KAS officers which could be deputed under the direct quota and therefore, the Government should in its first priorities, look into the entire issue and resolve it much before election process to the BDCs started.


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