Jammu and Kashmir Apni Party (JKAP) president Syed Mohammad Altaf Bukhari on Wednesday vehemently opposed the J&K government decision to subsume engineering wings of various departments into Public Works Department saying that the move will create too much of mess and confusion on the ground.
In a statement issued here, Bukhari, who has himself remained a Public Works minister in the previous government in J&K, observed that the R&B department lacks the requisite capacity to handle such a broader mandate.
“A small instance in place is the snow clearance operation which was assigned by the Gulmarag Development Authority (GDA) to the mechanical wing of the Public Works Department at Gulmarag last year. The snow clearance which would otherwise take a few hours took three to four days and the vital roads to this world famous tourist destination remained blocked for days together,” he recalled.
The JKAP president said that there will be joblessness because of the merger decision and the technical staff who are presently working in different departments are bound to face hierarchical issues in addition to the hiccups in their career progression.
On setting up a committee of administrative secretaries to work on modalities for merger of over a dozen departments with PWD, Bukhari observed that such decisions are akin to putting the cart before the horse. “Once the decision of merger has already been taken by the previous Lt. Governor led state administrative council without any prior home work or taking any stakeholders on board, what is the fun of constituting such a committee to chalk out modalities now?” he asked.
Bukhari said that the J&K government should have consulted all the stakeholders for threadbare deliberations before arriving at any such arbitrary decision. “No blueprint was put before the State Administrative Council in this regard. Even no feedback was sought from the technical staff and other stakeholders who are bound to get affected after the merger of their departments into PWD. So the present Lt. Governor should intervene and rescind this unilateral decision at an earliest,” he observed.
Bukhari expressed surprise over the rush in taking policy decisions more so when the new Lt. Governor Manoj Sinha has taken his charge recently and shall require some breathing time and space to understand the working and the mandate of different government departments. “In this situation taking such hasty decisions are bound to impede developmental activities in J&K which are already at their lowest ebb,” he added.
He said that the amalgamation of all the engineering wings in the PWD department will create too much confusion and many issues related to seniority, pay disparity, and other employee welfare measures would crop up subsequently.
Meanwhile, taking a strong exception to the abolishment of reserving projects for Self Help Groups in J&K, Bukhari said that the move will render thousands of educated unemployed youth jobless. “There are around 3000 such groups operating across J&K comprising degree and diploma holders. These groups involve over 15500 engineers who have made this scheme a success. I wonder why our government is pursuing anti youth policies which can have serious ramifications for the overall situation in J&K,” he remarked.
Bukhari said that there can be some shortcomings in the scheme which can be rectified but abolishing the reservation clause defeats the main purpose of the scheme for which it was planned and executed in J&K. “Our government is not in a position to provide government jobs to these educated youth. When you abolish the reservations of projects for such professionals, you are going to add to the burgeoning rate of unemployment which can lead to turmoil,” he added.
He said the GAD order by virtue of which the government has snatched bread and butter of the thousands of families who are completely dependent on these groups should be immediately withdrawn. “Thousands of our educated unemployed youth who have crossed the age bar are associated with these groups. The Lieutenant Governor should not turn a blind eye towards their economic plight and order immediate withdrawal of this controversial order issued by the GAD,” he demanded.