JAMMU, May 22: Turning blind eye towards the difficulties being faced by vast population during the past over one decade, the Government has failed to initiate serious steps to redraw the divisions and sub-divisions of several key developmental departments to address incongruities which were left at the time of creation of eight new districts in Jammu and Kashmir in 2007.
Official sources told EXCELSIOR that though at the time of creation of eight new districts in the State—four each in Kashmir and Jammu divisions in 2007, boundaries of the administrative units were defined but no serious attention was paid towards the necessity of making divisions and sub-divisions of several key developmental departments co-terminus with the newly created districts and this led to fringe areas emerging as ‘no-administration land’.
In each and every session of State Legislature held since 2007 the legislators from these eight and adjoining districts vociferously raised this issue stressing upon the Government to redraw the jurisdiction of divisions and sub-divisions of key departments like Public Health Engineering, Power Development Department, Public Works Department, Rural Development and Irrigation and Flood Control on priority basis to bring an end to the difficulties being faced by the people but only assurances were given by the Government and till date no serious step has been initiated on ground, sources said.
Quoting some instances of incongruities, sources said that several areas of Reasi district are still under the control of Power Development Department’s divisions and sub-divisions in Rajouri district while as certain areas of Rajouri district fall in the jurisdiction of PDD’s divisions and sub-divisions in Reasi district.
The forest area of Shiv Khori shrine falls under Nowshera Forest Division as a result of which in case of any work relating to the Forest Department people are compelled to visit Nowshera, sources further said, adding even several Panchayats of Reasi district are covered under MGNREGA from Udhampur district.
Similarly, several water supply schemes of Samba district fall in the domain of PHE Department’s divisions and sub-divisions in Udhampur and for redressal of any grievance people are compelled to travel long distance. Similar is the situation in respect of other key departments like Rural Development and School Education in all those districts which were created in 2017 but grievances of the people have not received due attention even after the lapse of over one decade, sources said.
“In 2015 the District Development Commissioners of these eight districts started exercise to redraw the jurisdiction of divisions and sub-divisions of developmental departments and some headway was also made but the process got stalled at the level of respective Divisional Commissioners and since then there is no further progress”, they informed.
While admitting that jurisdiction of divisions and sub-divisions of various developmental departments was not co-terminus with the jurisdiction of the administrative units and resulting in huge difficulties to the people availing Government services as well as in supervision of such units, the then Finance Minister Dr Haseeb Drabu while presenting Budget for 2018-19 financial year had announced to initiate the necessary groundwork in this regard.
“The boundaries of units of different departments need to be aligned keeping the Assembly Constituencies as the next sub unit for a district. Within the Assembly Constituencies, all departments need to set up their basic units as per norms without overlapping with any other Constituency”, he had stated while announcing that a sub-group comprising of Administrative Secretaries of all the key departments will undertake a comprehensive review of the jurisdiction of divisions and sub-divisions in various developmental departments and other such departments so as to bring their jurisdiction in harmony with the administrative revenue units in a time bound manner.
However, neither sub-group has been formally constituted nor any discussion initiated at any level in the Government till date thereby indicating that concern of the Government has remained confined to the official statements, sources regretted.
“At the district level a detailed exercise was conducted but the process failed to reach the Civil Secretariat because of unknown reasons”, said some of the Deputy Commissioners on the condition of anonymity, adding “people are still complaining about the incongruities but we have nothing in our hands to address their grievances”.