Choudhary Mohammad Ramzan

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Choudhary-Mohammad-RamzanA clamour came out of the meeting attended by National Conference’s placid minister. His tone and throw was potent enough to force a senior engineer to call it quits. The move might dent the efforts of ruling NC in the run-up to Assembly elections given the clean image of engineer among employees.

It all started when Consumer Affairs (CAPD) Minister Choudhary Mohammad Ramzan lost his cool during an official meeting which left a top engineer badly irked and pushed him to resign from the post in protest.

Later Muzaffar Lankar (the chief engineer of the Public Health Engineering) said that he has put in many decades in the service of the state government but never faced “such a humiliation”.

Ramzan has been accused of “abusing” the official having a high integrity. Later defending his action, the CAPD minister said he is worried over the public money that has been embezzled and the engineer looked the other way. He further said that he has represented the area for 30 years and now he is facing another election.

Choudhary had managed a public investment of Rs 5.84 crore for a water supply scheme for 35 villages with a cumulative population of 60000 people. The scheme, he said, was under execution when an embezzlement of Rs 50 lakh surface that the PHE was asked to investigate it as early as 2013 summer. The issue cropped up in a meeting that PHE minister Sham Lal presided and was attended by Choudhary and numerous Sarpanchs from the belt.

Lanker said the minister used “highly abusive and humiliating” language which “any person having self respect cannot take”. He said he took the humiliation as an assault on his personal integrity and self respect and took the route of resignation. He also said that the minister was annoyed with an engineer because he is honest.

A 1953 born NC leader from Handwara, Ramzan is a law graduate. Associated with NC from the beginning, he was the member of the party’s provincial working committee as well as Member of the Central Working Committee. He was elected to the 1983 and 1987 Assembly and became Minister of State, Industries & Commerce and later Forests Minister in the Farooq Abdullah Government.

Given a high integrity maintained by Lankar throughout his career, his resignation is expected to contribute negatively to the ruling party in the elections. But Ramzan adheres to his remarks: I respect the integrity of the engineer but that does not solve any issue: my people need drinking water.

– Bilal Handoo

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