Cabinet to meet on Monday

Srinagar: As the ruling coalition failed to arrive on a consensus over several key appointments in various departments, the Cabinet is all set to meet under the chairmanship of Chief Minister, Mehbooba Mufti on Monday.

Official sources said that Cabinet is scheduled to meet at the Civil Secretariat, Srinagar at 3 PM. This of course will be the last meeting of the highest decision making body before the closure of Durbar in Srinagar.

Sources said that many Departments have been lying vacant during the past several weeks and the cabinet is likely to fill up the these positions. The departments lying vacant include Chief Engineer Irrigation and Flood Control, Regional Transport Office Srinagar Kashmir. Besides, several other departments too have been working without any administrative heads taking control of the departments.

RTO, Srinagar was transferred on September 20 and posted as Chief Executive Officer, Integrated Watershed Management Programme, J&K, against an available vacancy.

Similarly, the Irrigation and Flood Control Department Kashmir is headless for the last two weeks.

The previous Chief Engineer Irrigation and Flood Control retired on September 30 and since then government has failed to appoint the new head of the department.

Amazingly, various other key departments including tourism, revenue and information continue to be headless as well.

With the retirement of Muhammad Hussain Malik last month, the departments like tourism, floriculture, parks and gardens and information have become headless.

Since then, the government has neither appointed their full-fledged heads nor assigned their charge to any other officer.

Mohammad Hussain, who was secretary to the Chief Minister, was holding temporary charge of these departments headed by Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti and cabinet minister Choudhary Zulfikar Ali.

The tourism department is headless at the time when the government has launched an ambitious promotional campaign to attract tourists to Kashmir.

Other vital departments, including revenue, disaster management, relief rehabilitation and reconstruction and science and technology are also headless for the past week.

These positions became vacant on October 11 with the appointment of senior officer Muhammad Ashraf Mir as information commissioner of the state.

In fact, the topmost positions in the planning, development and monitoring department and economic reconstruction agency (ERA) are also being managed on ad hoc bases.

Insiders in the government say that several top positions could not be filled due to the lack of consensus within the coalition partners over the issue.

Sources believe that there was tussle between the PDP and BJP over appointment of Chief Engineer Irrigation and Flood Control Department has been hampering the appointment of a senior officer in the department.

Insiders said that the BJP wants that Chief Engineer should be hailing from Jammu while the PDP wants that a Kashmiri should head the department as it is vital for the Valley owing to the increased role the department has been assigned post the flood fury of 2014.

Meanwhile quoting some examples, sources said that cabinet may also fill up the post of secretary tourism, floriculture, parks and gardens. Similarly sources said that departments, including revenue, disaster management, relief rehabilitation and reconstruction and science and technology may also be filled.

Sources said that the possibility of Cabinet ordering transfers and postings in the Police Department cannot be ruled out.

Even though a senior minister confirmed the meeting, but he said that no agenda has been circulated as yet.




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