State awardees in 5 yrs keep waiting as Govt fails to organize investiture ceremony

Nishikant Khajuria
JAMMU, June 24: The State awardees in different categories during the last five years are still waiting for the Government invite to get the awards formally conferred upon them.
More than 100 awardees since 2015, who include luminaries in different fields of Art, Literature, Sports and other fields, are in dark about the fate of their award as the State Government has failed to organize a formal investiture ceremony till date for conferring upon the announced honour.
Ever since July 2014, the State Government has not organized the investiture ceremony to confer the State Awards, which are announced every year on the eve of Republic Day in different categories.
In April 2018, investiture ceremony in this regard was planned to confer the awards announced since 2015, but the same was postponed a day earlier following some law and order problem in Kashmir valley. This is for the first time that no investiture ceremony to confer the State Awards has been organized in the consecutive five years for the reasons best known to the Government authorities.
Pertinent to mention here that the State Awards are conferred every year on the eve of Republic Day in different categories, including Awards for Bravery, Awards for Achievement in the Field of Literature, Awards for Performing Arts, Awards for Excellence in Arts and Craft, Awards for Social Reforms & Empowerment, Awards for Meritorious Public Service (two awards in this category are reserved for Non-Gazetted officials), Awards for Lifetime Achievements in any other field, Awards for outstanding Sportspersons, Awards for Outstanding Media Persons, Awards for Outstanding Environmentalists and Award for Outstanding Industrial Entrepreneurs.
Each State Award comprised a citation, medal and cheque of Rs 51000, which is conferred upon the awardee during a formal function organized by the Government after a gap of two or three years.
Even as these State Awards are being announced every year on the eve of Republic Day, the same have not been conferred upon to the awardees since 2015 as the State Government failed to organize an investiture ceremony in this regard till date.
The unprecedented delay in holding the investiture ceremony has triggered disappointment among some of the awardees, who have been approaching the General Administration Department (GA) of the State Government for seeking reasons over the postponement but not getting any response over their query.
“The continuous delay in holding the investiture ceremony is now turning into virtual embarrassment as even some of my relatives and friends have started doubting whether I was conferred upon the State Award or all it was a joke,” said an awardee in the category of Literature (Writer).
Another State awardee, on the condition of anonymity, said he had almost forgotten that State Award was once announced to him as there was no more enthusiasm to get the same after more than four years since its announcement.
The General Administration Department had last year conveyed to all the awardees since 2015 that investiture ceremony would be held at Zorawar Singh Auditorium in Jammu University on April 4, 2018. On the invitation, awardees from Kashmir and Ladakh even reached Jammu three days in advance as a rehearsal for the event was also scheduled on April 3.
However, on April 2 evening, the Government announced postponement of the ceremony in view of some law and order problem in Kashmir following the killing of a few terrorists. Ever since then, there has been no further information on scheduling the event.
According to the official sources, the necessary formalities like Vigilance clearance of the awardees and even preparation of citations have been completed for the investiture ceremony but there was no word from the Government over holding the event.
Similarly, the Chief Minister’s Vigilance Medals have also not been conferred upon the awardees since 2015 because of no investiture ceremony in this regard till date.