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Thursday, May 17, 2012

21 KAS, IAS officers shifted in major administrative reshuffle

Reenzu’s dignity restored, Dalip Thusoo attached; 7 districts get new DCs, 9 departments new heads

Ahmed Ali Fayyaz

SRINAGAR, May 16: In a major administrative reshuffle, Omar Abdullah’s Cabinet today accorded sanction to transfer and appointment of nearly two dozen IAS and KAS officers in J&K Government. While as new Deputy Commissioners have been appointed in seven districts, nine departments, projects and organizations have got new heads in the shake up that has finally ended months of uncertainty in middle and higher rungs of the government.

Even as Cabinet restored the dignity of the unceremoniously removed Director of Information, Farooq Reenzu, within a week of his attachment, another high profile officer, Dalip Thusoo, has been removed as Managing Director of Jammu & Kashmir Housing Board. Both the officers have been exceptionally dynamic but equally controversial.

In days of his sudden replacement by Zaffar Ahmad, KAS 1984, as Director of Information on May 10th, Reenzu was appointed today as Vice Chairman of Srinagar Development Authority. One of the most sought after slots, this position in SDA had remained vacant since the dramatic exit of Dilshad Khan, another KAS officer of 1984 batch, who had been extensively lobbying to get her posting as DC Budgam after retirement of Mohammad Rafi on 30-04-2012. She failed to get it in today’s reshuffle that saw her batch mate, Khursheed Ahmad Shah, being shifted as Director of Estates and appointed as the new DC in Budgam. For some time, newly appointed Commissioner of Srinagar Municipal Corporation, Dr Ghulam Nabi Qasba, held the additional charge of VC SDA.

On May 10th, Reenzu had been attached to General Administration Department after a prominent separatist leader and cleric delivered a public speech against him, albeit without mentioning his name, with the allegation that “some government officials” had been let loose to create “sectarian divide” in Kashmir. It was widely perceived to be the separatist leader’s assailing on Reenzu who had extensively identified himself with a particular school of thought and mobilized saints and shrine believers for purportedly promoting the Valley’s “secular” ethos. His imposing activity ruffled feathers among some rival schools of thoughts, particularly those seen as radical and puritanical, and their assailing of the “government officials” forced Omar Abdullah’s government to disown and leave Reenzu to fend for himself. However, in a quick ‘change of mind’, Reenzu was given a more prize posting today.

Thusoo had remained in negative news ever since State Vigilance Organisation (SVO) held him guilty of providing undue favour to a contractor as General Manager of J&K Projects Construction Corporation (JKPCC) in Doda, in the middle of 2010. A series of raids was conducted on his properties in J&K and other states and he was booked in an anti-corruption matter. However, charges of creating assets disproportionate to his known sources of income were not invoked against him. Blue-eyed boy of former Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad and a number of Ministers and equally influential politicians in the ruling coalition, Thusoo had risen to the highest position of MD, first in JKPCC and later in Housing Board, when SVO proceeded against him. However, he was neither arrested nor removed from his coveted posting.

What finally prompted Omar Abdullah’s Cabinet to remove and attach him today, was not immediately clear.

Cabinet accorded sanction to the transfer of Director School Education Kashmir, Shagufta Parveen, IAS, who was posted today as Secretary to Government, Public Enterprises Department. Her posting to the insignificant position triggered speculations that portfolio of School Education would be soon restored to Pirzada Mohammad Sayeed. Before landing in trouble on account of his foster son’s involvement in a matter of unfair means in Matriculation, Sayeed had reportedly conveyed to the Government that Shagufta be posted as Secretary of School Education and Public Enterprises. While as Sayeed was divested of his main portfolio of School Education, Shagufta was not touched in the following administrative reshuffles. Sayeed is currently working as Minister of Public Enterprises.

In today’s reshuffle, Mohammad Shafi Rather, IAS, Deputy Commissioner, Kupwara was transferred and posted as the new Director School Education, Kashmir. His 1984 KAS batch mate Ramesh Kumar Kaul, who was earlier this year inducted into IAS, was shifted as Additional Commissioner Commercial Taxes, Jammu, and posted as the new Director Estates in place of Khursheed Ahmad Shah.

Khurshid Ahmad Shah, IAS, Director Estates, was transferred and posted as Deputy Commissioner, Budgam. Since the retirement of Mohammad Rafi on 30-04-2012, Additional DDC Mohammad Akbar Ganai was officiating as DC in Budgam.

Mohammad Sharif Sood, IAS, Deputy Commissioner Shopian, was transferred and posted as Director, Horticulture [Planning and Marketing].

Mrs. Yasha Mudgal, IAS, Project Director Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan was transferred and posted as Deputy Commissioner Kupwara.

T. Ashok Kumar, IFS, Special Secretary (Technical), Forest Department, was transferred and posted as Secretary, J&K Public Service Commission. This post was vacant since last week with the transfer of Mohammad Ashraf Bukhari as Secretary Information Technology and Science Technology. It is for the first time that an IFS officer has been posted as Secretary in PSC.

Saleem Mohammad, KAS, Settlement Officer Jammu, was transferred and posted as Deputy Commissioner Kishtwar.

Hilal Ahmad Parray, KAS, Director Social Welfare, Kashmir, was transferred and posted as Project Director Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan.

Syed Kifayat Hussain Rizvi, KAS, Deputy Commissioner Anantnag, was transferred and posted as Commissioner Commercial Taxes, J&K.

Farooq Ahmad Shah, KAS, who completed six years of his posting as Director Tourism, Kashmir, on May 11th, was transferred and posted as Deputy Commissioner, Anantnag. He is coming out of tourism sector after nearly a decade as he previously or simultaneously functioned as head of Cable Car Corporation, Gulmarg Development Authority, Royal Spring Golf Course and SKICC.

Bashir Ahmad Bhat, KAS, Deputy Commissioner Baramulla, was transferred and posted as Director Social Welfare, Kashmir.

Farooq Ahmad Khan, KAS, Deputy Commissioner Kulgam, was transferred and posted as Special Secretary to Government, Finance Department.

Ghulam Ahmad Khwaja, KAS, Special Secretary to Government, Housing and Urban Development Department, was transferred and posted as Deputy Commissioner Baramulla.

Mohammad Hussain Malik, KAS, Deputy Commissioner Kishtwa, was transferred and posted as Special Secretary to Government Planning and Development Department.

Mohammad Javed Khan, KAS, Director, Horticulture [Planning and Marketing] was transferred and posted as Deputy Commissioner Shopian.

Jehangir Mir, KAS, Director Rural Development Department, Kashmir, was transferred and posted as Deputy Commissioner Kulgam. Mir Altaf Ahmad, KAS 1999, Chief Executive Officer, Tourism Development Authority Pahalgam, was transferred and posted as Director Rural Development Department, Kashmir. He is the first from KAS 1999 batch to be appointed as Head of a major department. RDD Kashmir is a key developmental department with budget allocation of around Rs 2500 Cr for the current financial year. Altaf will also hold the additional charge of the post of Chief Executive Officer, Tourism Development Authority, Pahalgam, till further orders.

Talat Parvez, KAS 1999, Managing Director, J&K Cable Car Corporation, was transferred and posted as Director Tourism, Kashmir. He will also hold the additional charge of the post of Managing Director, J&K Cable Car Corporation, till further orders.

Besides, giving nod to certain other proposals, the Cabinet approved upgradation of infrastructural facilities at Industrial Estate Gangyal, Jammu, and Bari Brahamana, Samba at an estimated cost of Rs 9.84 Cr and Rs 11.08 Cr respectively.


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