Portfolios rejig: 3 MoS bag major Deptts; changes mainly confined to Cong

Few hours after effecting a major reshuffle-cum-expansion in the Council of Ministry, Chief Minister Omar Abdullah tonight ordered a big rejig in the portfolios of the Ministers especially those belonging to the Congress (I).
The Ministers of State with Independent charge especially Sajjad Ahmad Kitchloo, Aijaz Ahmad Khan and Shabir Ahmad Khan were the major beneficiaries as they got the significant portfolios.
Omar has shunned the portfolios of R&B and Education, which belonged to the Congress. He now retained the charge of Home, General Administration, Power Development, Information, Civil Aviation, Hospitality and Protocol and Estates.
Though Congress MLA Vikar Rasool was administered the oath as Minister of State and his party colleague Shabir Ahmad Khan had earlier been MoS, all 7 MoS had been given Independent charge of some of the Departments. NC legislators—Sajjad Ahmad Kitchloo, Feroz Khan and Nazir Gurezi were administered the oath as MoS with Independent charge.
Deputy Chief Minister Tara Chand, Congress MLA from Chhamb, who earlier held Housing and Urban Development Department, has been shifted to School Education, which was lying with the Chief Minister after Congress Minister Peerzada Mohammad Sayeed was divested of it following his son’s involvement in the examination scam.
The Chief Minister has bifurcated the portfolio of Housing and Urban Development Department.
While Congress Minister Raman Bhalla, MLA Gandhi Nagar, who held the charge of Revenue, Relief and Rehabilitation has been given charge of Housing, Horticulture and Culture, Nawang Rigzin Jora, MLA Leh, who earlier held the portfolio of Tourism, was allocated Urban Development and Urban Local Bodies.
Peerzada Mohammad Sayeed, MLA Kokernag, who was holding the charge of Public Enterprises after being divested of Education has been given charge of Haj, Auqaf and Floriculture.
Sham Lal Sharma, Congress MLA from Akhnoor, has been shifted from Health to PHE, Irrigation and Flood Control Department, which was earlier held by Taj Mohi-ud-Din. Taj has been allocated Medical Education, Sports and Youth Services, which were held by RS Chib, who was dropped from the Cabinet today.
NC Ministers—Abdul Rahim Rather and Mian Altaf would retain their portfolios of Finance & Ladakh Affairs and Forest, Environment & Ecology respectively, Agriculture Minister Ghulam Hassan Mir has also retained his portfolio. Sakina Itoo (NC) also retained Social Welfare, ARI & Trainings and Public Grievances.
Veteran NC leader, Ali Mohammad Sagar now would be the Minister for Rural Development and Panchayati Raj. His additional portfolio of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs has gone to fresh entrant Mir Saifullah of NC.
NC leader from Jammu, Ajay Sadhotra has bagged the prestigious portfolio of Planning and Development along with Labour and Employment. The charge of Planning was held by the Chief Minister for the past four years.
Former Speaker Mohammad Akbar Lone has got Higher Education, the charge of which was held by the outgoing Minister Abdul Gani Malik.
NC leader Choudhary Ramzan has been allocated CAPD and Transport, the charge of which was held by the dropped Minister, Qamar Ali Akhoon.
New Cabinet Ministers of Congress—Abdul Mujeed Wani and Ghulam Ahmad Mir have been given R&B and Mechanical Engineer and Tourism Departments respectively.
Minister of State Aijaz Ahmad Khan, Congress MLA from Gool has been assigned the Independent charge of Revenue, Relief and Rehabilitation, which had earlier been held by Cabinet Minister Raman Bhalla.
Sajjad Ahmad Kitchloo, Minister of State has been allocated Independent charge of Industries and Commerce, a Department earlier held by his party colleague, Surjit Singh Slathia. In addition, he would be MoS Home, R&B, Mechanical Engineering, Housing and Urban Development, Tourism and Culture.
Minister of State Shabir Ahmad Khan, Congress MLA from Rajouri has been given Independent charge of Health, which was earlier held by his party colleague, Sham Lal Sharma.
Congress MLA from Billawar and MoS Dr Manohar Lal Sharma retained his portfolio of Fisheries, Cooperative, Printing, Stationery and Elections as Independent charge and MoS of Finance and Planning, Higher Education, Forests, Environment and Ecology, Labour and Transport.
New entrant from Congress Vakar Rasool, MLA Banihal has been given Independent charge of Technical Education. In addition, he would be MoS for Law, Justice, Parliamentary Affairs, Rural Development and Panchayats, Social Welfare, Power, Hospitality and Protocol, Information and CAPD.
MoS Feroz Khan, NC MLA from Zanskar was allocated Independent charge of Science and Technology and Information Technology, which was earlier held by his party colleague and former Cabinet Minister Aga Ruhullah Mehdi. In addition, he would be MoS for Medical Education, School Education, Youth Services and Sports.
MoS Nazir Ahmad Gurezi, NC MLA from Gurez got the Independent charge of Animal and Sheep Husbandry, held earlier by his party colleague and dropped Minister Aga Syed Ruhulla. In addition, he would be MoS for PHE, Irrigation and Flood Control, Horticulture, Agriculture and Floriculture.

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