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Sunday, November 1, 2015

Dy CM sitting over delegation of powers to MoS since March 6

Modi’s ambitious Leh-Srinagar line delayed; annual plan funds release withheld for months

Ahmed Ali Fayyaz

SRINAGAR, Oct 31: Under what consideration does Dy Chief Minister and Minister of Power Dr Nirmal Singh keep even the extremely urgent and important files pending at his office and home, is a matter of investigation. But it has been observed that he has been sitting over the files of topmost urgency for months together with no fear of accountability before the Chief Minister or the Cabinet.

In days of his taking over as Chief Minister, Mufti Mohammad Sayeed took a meeting with Minister incharge Power, Power Secretary and other senior bureaucrats and officers on March 6, 2015. He issued instructions that Minister of Power should delegate certain powers, including those of the competence of transferring the non-gazetted Group-D employees. In Mufti’s and Ghulam Nabi Azad’s PDP-Congress coalition and in Omar Abdullah’s NC-Congress alliance, MoS used to enjoy these powers.

General Administration Department conveyed Chief Minister’s instructions vide No: GAD (Adm) 221-2004 Dated 07-03-2015 to Power Development Department. After a detailed bureaucratic exercise, Power Secretary created File No: PDD-Gen/36/215 and submitted it to Dy CM/Power Minister on May 21 with the recommendation that certain powers, elaborated in a detailed list, were required to be delegated to MoS Power Mohammad Ashraf Mir.

Junior Minister Ashraf Mir’s repeated communications and protests failed to yield any results for over five months now. Dy CM remained unmoved over Mir’s D.O. letter Nos PS/HMOS/I&C, PD, H&UDD/235 Dated 13-05-2015. On May 21, Power Secretary Sandeep Nayak referred to Education Minister Naeem Akhtar’s delegation of similar powers to MoS Education Priya Sethi and insisted that same could be delegated to MoS as per CM’s March 6 direction.

In D.O. letter No: PS/HMOS/I&C, PD, H&UD/618 Dated 25-08-2015 Mr Mir protested that PDD had not taken the issue “seriously”. With reference to transfers of Junior Engineers, in which the recommendations of MoS, were completely ignored, Mr Mir recorded: “Administrative Department PDD is issuing transfer orders without proper exercise and ignoring the feedback and proposals…”

In the last 8 months of the Mufti government, Mir and some other junior Ministers have failed to get the powers of the transfer of non-gazetted staff delegated to them.

Dr Singh even delayed an important file related to laying of an ambitious power transmission line from Leh to Srinagar. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had specially flown to Ladakh in August 2014 for laying the foundation stone of this proposed power transmission line.

In his note para No: 674 dated October 5, Power Secretary Nayak wrote to Dy CM: “It is pertinent to mention here that many important files are being disposed after months together. It is that which is hampering the smooth functioning of the Department. To quote one example, the important file on Srinagar-Leh Transmission Line was pending in the office of the Minister i/c Power (HDyCM) for almost one and a half months despite clear-cut request/ instructions of the Union Power Minister and HCM to deal with the issue expeditiously”.

“Similarly the annual plan 2015-16 fund release approval file was pending in the office of the Minister i/c Power (HDyCM) for several weeks hampering the time bound and winter areas execution of works. There are plenty of such examples”, Power Secretary pointed out to Dr Singh.

According to the men well versed with the government functioning, delaying the fund release files means nothing but compelling Heads of Departments to approach the concerned Minister’s touts. “Often such files are released after the HoDs or their representatives pay a percentage of the allocation money to the Ministers through their touts”. It was not immediately clear why Dr Singh kept such urgent files pending for months at his office and residence.


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