Govt unjustifiably denying due rights to Engineering Gazetted Services members

Different yardsticks for different categories of employees in J&K
Finance Deptt fails to act on explicit directives of Cabinet

Mohinder Verma
JAMMU, July 17: Making mockery of the Cabinet decision, the Governor’s Administration is showing reluctance in implementing the Assured Career Progression Scheme for the Jammu and Kashmir Engineering Gazetted Services members, which amounts to rubbing salt on their wounds. This has also made it clear that even during Governor’s Rule different yardsticks are being adopted for resolving the grievances of different categories of the employees.
Official sources told EXCELSIOR that ever since J&K Engineering Gazetted Services came into existence there was no focus on Assured Career Progression although the issue was raised by the engineering fraternity a number of times that too at almost all the appropriate forums.
In the absence of Assured Career Progression, young professional joining as Junior Engineer often retires as an Assistant Engineer or a Chief Engineer retired only in the substantive grade of Assistant Executive Engineer. Such prolonged stagnation in one post or little or no career elevation led to strong resentment among the engineering fraternity and social discontentment.
Finally, this aspect received the attention of the previous PDP-BJP Coalition Government and in his Budget Speech 2018-19, the then Finance Minister stated: “To start addressing these concerns, I have worked out an Assured Career Progression Scheme for all the gazetted cadres of the Engineering departments. The details of the scheme shall be notified separately and it shall come into force with effect from April 1, 2018”.
However, the then Government failed to meet the time-line announced in the Budget and it was only on May 11, 2018 that the State Cabinet headed by the then Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti accorded sanction to the implementation of the Assured Career Progression (ACP) Scheme in respect of the Gazetted Service of Engineering Departments.
It was mentioned in the Cabinet decision that the scheme will ensure a minimum of 3 time bound promotions in a span of 20 years for the members of J&K Engineering Gazetted Services. The Cabinet authorised the Finance Department to notify the scheme and issue necessary orders in this regard as early as possible.
In the same Cabinet meeting the sanction was also accorded to the notification of the Non-Functional (Monetary) Scheme and its implementation in respect of members of the General Executive Cadre of the Jammu and Kashmir Police Gazetted Service
Within days of the Cabinet decision, the Government issued relevant SRO for such promotional benefits to J&K Police Gazetted Services but issuance of SRO with regard to J&K Engineering Gazetted Services members was delayed without any plausible reason.
Perturbed over discriminatory attitude the members of J&K Engineering Gazetted Services raised the issue of delay in issuance of SRO at every forum but all in vain. When the Governor’s Rule was imposed in the State, the members of these Service met all the concerned officers with the hope that they would finally get justice.
“Much to their disappointment and contrary to the general perception that in the Governor’s Rule there is no space for discrimination, the members of J&K Engineering Gazetted Services are still crying for justice as till date they have received only assurances from the concerned quarters”, sources said.
“We have come to the conclusion that even during the Governor’s Rule there are different yardsticks to redress the grievances of the employees”, several members of the J&K Engineering Gazetted Services told EXCELSIOR, adding “there is inordinate delay in issuance of SRO despite assurances by none else than the Governor and his Advisors”.
It is pertinent to mention here that Chief Secretary BVR Subrahmanyam in an official function had acknowledged the injustice with the J&K Engineering Gazetted Services members and announced that injustice will be brought to an end.
“There is no justification for the Finance Department to delay issuance of SRO even after approval to the Assured Career Progression Scheme by the Cabinet and assurances from the Governor as well as Chief Secretary”, sources said.
The EXCELSIOR has reliably learnt from the Law and several Engineering Departments that even after strike by the J&K Engineering Gazetted Services members no exercise has been set into motion for the issuance of SRO.
“Either some officers are misleading the Governor’s Administration or there is no intention to ensure parity in the promotional benefits to the members of all State Services”, sources remarked.