Srinagar: The Jammu and Kashmir Muslim Wakf Board has issued a controversial advertisement seeking applications from retired government officials to fill vacancies of revenue officer and tehsildar.
The notice published in a few local dailies on Saturday specifies that persons applying for the posts must be retired government employees.
“Candidates who have retired on superannuation from the state government not below the rank of Tehsildar in the J&K state revenue (gazetted) service are eligible for the post of Tehsildar,” says the eligibility condition of the post. Those intending to apply for revenue officer must be retired officers not below the rank of Girdawar in the revenue department.
The posts are for a fixed term of two years. The maximum age to apply for them is 62 years. The monthly consolidated salary has been set at Rs 20,000 for tehsildar and Rs 15, 000 for revenue officer.
It is not for the first time that a government department, autonomous body or public sector unit has opted for re-employment of government officials, even in violation of norms. Last year, the J&K government re-employed as many as 28 people in various government departments in clear defiance of a 2013 Cabinet order which put a blanket ban on such recruitments.
Another order issued by the General Administration Department (384 GAD of 2015 dated 17.03.2015) had called for revoking all the re-employment orders issued by any government department with “immediate effect”.
The order had also directed to cease the practice of temporary engagements/ arrangements made by government departments, public sector undertakings and autonomous bodies with regard to vacancies.
An official of the department told Kashmir Reader that the Wakf Board prefers illiterate or retired employees to run its daily affairs, as they “make this place more vulnerable to corruption and lethargy.”
The Wakf Board’s advertisement has come at a time when, in February, the government sought the list of persons reemployed in various departments so that appropriate action can be taken against those involved in this flouting of orders.
In the year 2012, taking cognisance of allegations against the Wakf Board, a committee constituted by the government had claimed that an illiterate workforce was messing up the board’s operations. The panel revealed that the majority of employees working in the institution were either under-matric or illiterate. Of the total strength of 382 permanent employees, the report said, only 34 were graduates, 23 had studied up to 12th standard, and 76 had only passed the 10th standard.
Secretary of the Wafk Board, Mohammad Rafiq, told Kashmir Reader that there were only two options available in Wakf service rules to recruit new people and they had to choose one among them.
“As per our rules, either we had to recruit men through deputations from other departments or employ retired government officials for the said posts. We chose the second option as we have to spend very less on the salaries of the to-be recruited employees,” Rafiq said.
When asked why the board was not recruiting still-in-service competent candidates, Rafiq said that the Wakf had its own rules and regulations and disconnected the phone.
The Jammu Kashmir Wakf Board is the second-largest asset-rich body in Jammu and Kashmir after the state government. The Wakf Board has immovable assets worth Rs 2,000 crore. It owns about 170 buildings, 1,500 shops, 1,400 rooms, more than 30 showrooms, 86 sets, 50 halls, besides dozens of other assets. A large amount of revenue also comes from donations from devotees who visit different shrines in the state.
The Wakf Board also owns thousands of kanals of land, including orchards. The board owns 8,543.5 kanals in the state, of which 1,013 kanals are in Jammu region. In Kashmir, the board owns more than 1,223 kanals in the form of graveyards, mosques, ziarats, eidgahs and agricultural land, besides hundreds of kanals of land or orchards and some land that is occupied by official departments and government troops.