New mechanism to be in place from next month
*Such deptts to retain power of works’ prioritization
JAMMU, Nov 29: The administration of Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir has finalized the modalities for transfer of engineering wings of 14 departments to the Public Works Department and the new mechanism will be in place from next month. However, these departments will retain the power of prioritization and identification of works and their administrative approvals.
The Administrative Council in its meeting held under the chairmanship of first Lieutenant Governor of Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir Girish Chandra Murmu on August 4, 2020 had accorded approval to the merger/subsuming of in-house engineering wings in various departments/organizations.
These departments/organizations are Tourism, Tourism Development Authorities, School Education, Higher Education, Skill Development, Horticulture (Planning and Marketing), Animal Husba-ndry, Fisheries, Floriculture, Hospitality and Protocol, Estates, Disaster Management, Forest, Environment and Ecology, Transport and Sher-e-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences Medical College Soura.
This decision was taken by the Administrative Council on the ground that it will bring better quality, faster execution and lower costs in construction projects by addressing issues being faced by various existing in-house engineering wings which broadly include shifting of focus of departments from their core objective to construction activities, mushrooming of engineering wings, inconsistency in the estimation processes due to unrevised SOPs, absence of uniform standards and procedures and poor implementation.
The Administrative Council had directed constitution of a committee of concerned Administrative Secretaries along with domain experts to work out modalities for merger/repatriation/ deputation of staff from the subsumed wings to PWD.
Several months long exercise concluded with the finalization of modalities for rationalization and re-organization of the engineering wings in a meeting held under the chairmanship of Chief Secretary BVR Subrahmanyam two days back. The meeting was attended by all the concerned Administrative Secretaries.
The Chief Secretary, as per the sources, issued directions for issuance of formal orders for transfer of engineering wings along with the posts/staff to the Public Works Department in pursuance to the Administrative Council decision. “The new mechanism will be in place in the month of December strictly as per the timeline fixed by the Administrative Council”, sources disclosed.
As per the modalities finalized by the committee headed by Chief Secretary, this is not a merger of cadres into PWD but only transfer of posts and cadres to the administrative control of PWD and any restructuring of this will be based on the report of Principal Secretary to Government PWD.
“All the concerned departments have been directed to transfer the posts created in their departments for performing construction/engineering related activities to the PWD”, sources said, adding “moreover, they have been asked to transfer the staff working on these posts, be they appointees on these posts or on deputation, to the administrative control of PWD”.
The General Administration Department has been asked to issue orders whereby entities and staff will continue to function from their existing locations along with the current and past records. “The Agriculture Production and Farmers Welfare Department will be excluded from the list of departments whose engineering wings are being transferred to PWD as it is not engaged in any sort of construction activity”, sources said.
They disclosed that 14 departments whose engineering wings are being subsumed will, however, retain the power of prioritization and identification of works and their administrative approvals.
“An exercise is also going on to suggest restructuring of PWD (R&B) with additional units/wings/ verticals to cater to the needs of regional units and specialized wings. Moreover, a committee headed by Principal Secretary PWD is examining the possibility of delineating the boundaries of the engineering divisions which will be co-terminus with the boundaries of districts”, sources said.
Moreover, in view of inconsistency in the existing norms/procedures /SOPs governing the aspect of accord of administrative approvals, estimation, tendering, work allotment and procurement of material, a high-level committee will shortly suggest reforms in the existing norms/procedures/ SOPs, they further informed.