Nothing wrong in it, ministers say; ‘applications like this come in hundreds’
SRINAGAR: The Opposition was not raising unfounded concerns in the state assembly over illegal appointments of Class-IV employees. Kashmir Reader has come into possession of documents that reveal that two cabinet ministers were personally trying to get a man appointed in the agriculture department as a Class-IV employee.
Appointment of Class-IV employees has been banned in Kashmir since 1994. However, successive governments have been appointing them through various means, so much so that their number has reached 60,000.
Haseeb Drabu as finance minister in his Budget statement for 2018-19 had promised to regularise these workers, known variously as “daily wagers”, “casual labourers”, “contractual Class-IV employees”, et al. During the budget session of the state assembly this year, Drabu had been trying to convince the Opposition that no person was being engaged any more in these capacities. However, official documents reveal that PDP leaders continue to be involved in the recruitment of such workers.
Younis Rashid Dar, a resident of Narwah Beerwah, wrote an application on September 26, 2017, to a Minister, requesting that he be engaged as a Class-IV employee in the agriculture department. The same day the minister’s office forwarded the application to another minister. The forwarded application bears one of the cabinet minister’s stamp and his remarks – that the concerned minister “consider the supplicant’s request”.
When the application reached the concerned minister, it was forwarded again, with concerned minister’s stamp, to the Director, Agriculture, asking him to do the needful. The Officer on Special Duty (OSD) to the agriculture minister endorsed the representation.
The agriculture department received the letter on February 1, 2018. The Director, however, turned down the request. He returned the letter on March 6, 2018, to the commissioner secretary, agriculture, saying that his office “could not afford to appoint any person in any category of post because of various guidelines.”
Kashmir Reader got access to the documents last week. When this reporter contacted the OSD to the minister, he sought one week’s time to give his response. Today, after a week, he sent the same documents that were already in possession of Kashmir Reader.
Last week, when the OSD was asked how he could ask a department to make an appointment for which he does not have the mandate, he gave various responses.
Agriculture Minister Ghulam Nabi said he had not done anything wrong. “Applications like this comes in hundreds, like to any other minister. He (the applicant) had asked for action as per norms, which is okay. There is nothing wrong in it. The person was not appointed,” he said.