Govt’s ‘additional/in-charge syndrome’

Srinagar: Despite the Mufti-led government’s pledge to do away with the additional charge ‘syndrome’, the departments headed by Deputy Chief Minister Nirmal Singh are yet to implement the orders.
Among the departments which seem to be persisting with this ‘syndrome’ are the J&K State Power Development Corporation Limited (JKPDCL), Power Development Department and Housing and Urban Development.
Early this year, the JKPDCL managing director’s post fell vacant after the retirement of Mehraj Kakroo. Later, Principal Secretary PDD Sandeep Kumar Nayak was ordered to hold additional charge as MD while executive director (electrical) post was assigned to power development commissioner (power) Asgar Ali Majaz in addition to his own assignment. Interestingly, Majaz, the secretary PDD (technical), is holding the power development commissioner’s post as an additional charge since last year.
Sources said there have been little or no efforts to fill these vital posts in the last four months because Deputy CM Nirmal Singh is yet to hold a meeting in this regard. “Doctor Sahib is busy with the AIIMS agitation in Jammu and we are yet to take up this issue,” a close aide revealed.
While officer on Special Duty to Nirmal Singh, Shakti Pathak, said he was not the right person to talk on these issues, Singh himself was not available for comment.
Sources said it is mostly ‘blue-eyed engineers’ who have been given plum postings in the garb of “additional or in charge” mechanism instead of filling these posts permanently. An engineer has to manage multiple posts because of the lack of manpower in the power department and, in the process, these ‘blue-eyed engineers’ are favoured.
Kashmir Reader has learnt that despite an increase in the department’s assets, the power sector has seen a 34% decline in its manpower in the past two decades. Currently, the department has a staff strength of 2,200 compared to 14,250 in 1988.
“The corporation has started generating revenue but is without a permanent MD. This affects its working. Similarly, the staff crunch has hit revenue realisation and targets can’t be achieved fully because of the staff shortage,” said an engineer.
On the Housing and Urban Development Department (H&UDD) front, the government last month ordered Commissioner Secretary Bipul Pathak to hold additional charge as Director Urban Local Bodies Kashmir. The latter post was lying vacant after Hilal Ahmad Parray was elevated and posted as secretary in the department of cooperatives.