Several inquiries ordered by H&UDD remain incomplete even after lapse of deadlines

Dilly-dallying approach creates hurdles in punishing erring officials

*Deptt not exerting pressure for completion of task

Mohinder Verma

JAMMU, May 11: Several inquiries ordered by the Housing and Urban Development Department into abuse of power, loss to exchequer and violation of rules have remained incomplete even after missing of deadlines. Shockingly, those at the helm of affairs are not exerting any sort of pressure for completion of task as a result of which no action could be taken against the erring officials.
Vide Government Order No.19-JK(HUD) dated February 25, 2022, the Principal Secretary to the Government, Housing and Urban Development Department constituted a committee of five officers particularly Engineers for assessing the loss caused to the State Exchequer due to the negligence of the concerned staff during execution of work on bus stand Pulwama taken up in the year 2010.
It was specifically mentioned in the order that committee will submit its report to the Housing and Urban Development Department within 30 days from the date of issuance of the order. However, despite lapse of several months the committee has not submitted its report to the department, official sources told EXCELSIOR, adding “due to this neither the responsibility could be fixed nor the erring officials punished”.
Similarly, vide Government Order No.11-JK(HUD) dated February 21, 2022, the Housing and Urban Development Department appointed an Inquiry Officer to conduct a detailed inquiry in the matter regarding exclusion of 98 villages in the Jammu Master Plan-2032.
The Inquiry Officer was directed to submit report within one month clearing pin-pointing the officials responsible for the lapse. Even Senior Town Planner, Jammu Development Authority was made Presenting Officer in the case. “This inquiry has also remained incomplete till date even the lapse of several months and nobody is in a position to specify when the task will be completed”, sources informed.
Likewise, vide Government Order No.28-JK(HUD) dated March 17, 2022, Director Urban Local Bodies Kashmir was appointed as an Inquiry Officer in terms of Section 26 of the Jammu and Kashmir Municipal Act, 2000 to conduct a detailed inquiry into the matter of abuse of powers/failure to perform duties by the President, Municipal Committee Frisal.
In the order, the Principal Secretary Housing and Urban Development Department fixed timeline of one month for the completion of task. This inquiry has also met the fate of other inquiries ordered by the department.
The Director, Urban Local Bodies Kashmir was assigned one more inquiry vide Government Order No.30-JK(HUD) dated March 17, 2022 but the same has not been completed till date although report along with the recommendations were to be submitted within one month. The inquiry was pertaining to alleged regularization of building permission cases in violation of rules by the President, Municipal Council, Pulwama.
In terms of Rule 33(4) of Jammu and Kashmir Civil Services (Classification, Control and Appeal) Rules, 1956, the then Director Urban Local Bodies Jammu was appointed inquiry officer vide Government Order No.57-JK(HUD) dated April 23, 2022 to look into the allegations leveled against four officers namely Thakur Dass, Incharge Executive Officer, Municipal Council Reasi, the then Secretary/Incharge Executive Officer, Municipal Committee Katra, Nitin Sharma, Sanitary Inspector, Municipal Committee Katra, Thakur Dass, Electrician Municipal Committee Reasi and Susheel Magotra, the then JE Municipal Committee Katra.
The Inquiry Officer was directed to submit the report within five days. However, report has been submitted with regard to only Thakur Dass, Incharge Executive Officer while as findings in respect of other three officers have yet not been consolidated and submitted, sources said.
Further, vide Government Order No.54-JK(HUD) dated April 13, 2022, Inquiry Officer was appointed to look into the whole matter regarding the issues raised by the members of the Trikuta Nagar Welfare Society in their representation to the then Governor of J&K regarding change of land use and purpose of land allotted to Jammu Development Authority by the Irrigation and Flood Control Department.
“The Inquiry Officer shall submit the report within one month clearly pin-pointing the role of officers and officials of Jammu Development Authority who had concealed these facts while submitting the case to the Administrative Department”, the Principal Secretary to the Government, Housing and Urban Development Department had mentioned in the order.
However, this inquiry has yet not reached the logical conclusion. “The shocking aspect is that even those at the helm of affairs in the department never bothered to exert pressure for timely completion of inquiries”, sources said, adding “from the hanging fate of the inquiries it seems that the same were ordered just for the formality sake”.