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Saturday, December 10, 2016

Mehbooba leaves Cabinet meet in a huff as BJP Ministers oppose 2 IGP, 3 DIG posts for KPS

Nirmal Singh, Lal Singh rush to pacify the dejected Chief Minister at her home

Ahmed Ali Fayyaz


JAMMU, Dec 9: Failing to get through her proposal of cadre review for officers of Kashmir Police Service (KPS) — reservation of 2 IPS posts of IGP and 3 IPS posts of DIG for KPS officers — Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on Friday left the Cabinet meeting in a huff, without consideration of some key agenda items as the Ministers of her coalition partner BJP resisted any conversion of IPS cadre posts for promotion of KPS officers.

On instructions from Chief Minister, who is holding portfolio of Home Department, Principal Secretary Home, R.K. Goyal, on Thursday prepared a detailed proposal for reservation of 2 posts of IGP and 3 posts of DIG for the senior KPS officers who fail to get induction into IPS on time and retire only as SSPs. The Cabinet memo was duly endorsed and approved by Chief Minister and enlisted in the agenda for Friday’s Cabinet meeting.

With the support of some Cabinet Ministers of PDP, the KPS officers of 1999 batch have been demanding reservation of at least 5 IPS posts for the State police service officers on the pattern of their Kashmir Administrative Service (KAS) siblings.

While as five KAS officers, without their induction into IAS, are currently holding the posts of the administrative secretaries in Government of Jammu and Kashmir, six more of them are functioning in the grade of Commissioner-Secretary to Government and holding equivalent posts on ex-cadre basis. According to highly placed bureaucratic sources, IAS and IPS officers have submitted a host of representations to Government of India while strongly complaining that the cadre posts of IAS and IPS were being diverted for KAS and KPS officers.

Sources insist that from both, political as well bureaucratic quarters, in New Delhi, “men in J&K Government” had been advised to take a tough stand and fail whatever proposal the PDP would push in a Cabinet meeting.

According to the well-placed sources, after consideration and approval to certain agenda items, including a retired IAS officer Ashraf Bukhari’s appointment as Chairman of BOPEE, the Cabinet took up the agenda item of the cadre review of KPS.

The BJP Ministers, led by Deputy Chief Minister Dr Nirmal Singh, opposed the proposal tooth and nail, while contending that the cadre arrangement of IPS, IAS and IFS should not be disturbed without taking on board the Prime Minister’s Office that controls the IAS regulator Department of Personnel and Training (DOPT), Union Ministry of Home Affairs that regulates the IPS and the Union Ministry of Environment and Forestry that regulates the Indian Forest Service.

When some PDP Ministers sought to make it clear that there were more contenders for the reservation from Jammu than from Kashmir, the BJP Ministers declined to relent. They agreed only to the extent that the grade of IG and DIG could be granted to the senior KPS officers without posting them as IGPs and DIGs. Chief Minister herself pleaded the case of the non-IPS KPS officers, pointing out that for several years of their service towards the end of their career, they are forced to work under their juniors. It causes substantial demoralisation among the senior KPS officers, CM is said to have asserted.

As the BJP Ministers in one voice continued their opposition to the CM’s proposal, Ms Mufti got up and left the meeting in a huff. For the first time since she took over as CM in April this year, Ms Mufti turned impulsive on a Cabinet proposal and she drove straight to her official residence. Minutes later, PDP’s Cabinet Ministers Haseeb Drabu and Abdul Haq Khan rushed to the CM’s residence. Sources said that in half-an-hour, they were also followed by two BJP Ministers— Dy CM Nirmal Singh and Minister of Forest Lal Singh. It was not immediately clear whether Chief Minister entertained them or not.

Consequently, a number of the agenda items could not be considered in today’s meeting, that was the first after shifting of Durbar from Srinagar to Jammu. Previously, Cabinet had met in Srinagar on October 14.

Some reports said that differences between the coalition partners occurred on the proposal of the shifting of Chief Secretary B.R. Sharma as DG IMPA on retirement of Dr Arun Kumar and the appointment of Mr B.B. Vyas as the new Chief Secretary. However, top level bureaucratic and political sources told STATE TIMES that there was “no truth” in such reports circulated and spread through social media.


[Published in today’s STATE TIMES]

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