Labour Officers’ posts lying vacant in Kashmir

Irfan Tramboo
SRINAGAR, Dec 21:The Labour Department in Kashmir is struggling with the implementation of labour laws across Kashmir as it has failed to fill up the posts of Labour Officers, which are lying vacant not only in Srinagar, but in all the districts of Kashmir valley.
The shortfall in some places and total absence in other places is being attributed to the lethargic approach of the recruitment agencies in appointing the officers of such nature and the callous approach of the authorities in not holding timely DPCs.
The figures reveal that in Kashmir, there have to be 4 Labour Officers working in Srinagar district alone, and one in each district of the Valley. Similarly, in Jammu, there have to be 4 Labour Officers working in Jammu and one in each district.
Excelsior has learned that all the four posts of Labour Officers in Srinagar are lying vacant as of now and same is the situation with regard to the other districts in Valley. In districts, while almost all the posts are lying vacant, one Labour Officer who was working in Baramulla has been given an additional charge of Labour Officer Bandipora-thus, there is only one Labour Officer to two large districts.
“Instead of having 4, there was only one Labour Officer working in Srinagar, he too, retired, thus bringing the number to zero,” a source told Excelsior.
Labour Commissioner, J&K Abdul Rashid War told Excelsior there is a sanctioned strength of 29 such posts in J&K, while as 14 are for Kashmir Division. “Some among them were promoted as Assistant Labour Commissioners (ALC)-so, basically they are holding both the posts of Labour Officers as well as that of ALC,” he said, adding that there are 13 posts lying vacant in Kashmir as of now.
With regard to holding the DPCs, he said that he has processed the cases for the DPC and the department was waiting for their Vigilance clearance. “If that happens tomorrow, we will be holding the DPC immediately,” he said.
With the non-availability of such field force in the department, the implementation of labour laws is taking a hit all across J&K. The inspections to the commercial establishments in order to check the compliance of laws has also witnessed a dip.
“The inspections are rarely conducted; it is the duty of the Labour Officers to check if people are abiding by the laws and subsequently report the violation, if any, however, due to the non-availability of overall staff to carry out such drives the implementation has taken a hit,” source added.
On one hand the department is already lacking the required staff, it has been given additional work to carry out with the result the normal work of the Labour Department has been sidelined.
The preference is being given to the work of J&K Buildings and other Construction Workers Welfare Act due to which the normal functioning of the department and its other related works is taking a backseat.
Further, in order to carry out the work pertaining to this Act, the department was to be provided with the additional staff, which has not been provided so far-compelling it to engage the staff which was meant for other works.