Jammu and Kashmir Apni Party (JKAP) President Syed Altaf Bukhari on Saturday took a strong exception to procedure and criteria adopted for appointment of people to the top posts in J&K Bank.
In a statement, Bukhari said a recent order “by virtue of which a non-domicile of J&K has been appointed to the post of Chief Financial Officer of the J&K Bank is an unprecedented move aimed at playing with the economic aspirations of people of Jammu and Kashmir.”
“I am told that the government at helm in J&K has clandestinely amended the recruitment rules after August 5, 2019, and has created a window for the appointment of non-residents of J&K especially to the top posts of J&K Bank. This is totally unacceptable because any such recruitment is illegal and in violation of Domicile law for J&K,” Bukhari said and demanded immediate revocation of the order.
Earlier this week, the board of directors approved the appointment of Satya Narayan Gupta as CFO of the Jammu and Kashmir Bank.
The JKAP president remarked that there seems to be a pattern to appoint and promote people to the top posts “while discarding the requirements of Domicile Law for such appointments in the J&K Bank.”
“I call upon the union home minister to intervene into the matter and take cognizance of how the post of CFO was advertised and later filled up throwing the Domicile Law to winds,” Bukhari pleaded.
He said it has happened for the first time that ‘officiating’ executive presidents in J&K Bank have been designated and that too without informing or seeking consent from the RBI.
“For the appointment of Executive Presidents the government had to go by merit including interviews and seniority but I am told that all the eligible candidates for these posts were not called for the interview. This is totally illegal,” he said, and demanded the designations of three executive presidents should now be confirmed by the RBI.
Bukhari also demanded that the JK Bank should declare results of over 150000 aspirants who had appeared for the examination for the posts of banking associates and probationary officers but are waiting for the results for the last over two years. “Two years after a three-phase-examination process conducted in Governor S.P Malik’s tenure, which drove lakhs of qualified aspirants to examination centres, the present dispensation is unnecessarily delaying its results,” Bukhari remarked.
The JKAP president opined that the JK Bank, as a pristine financial institution had assumed tremendous significance and the people from all regions of Jammu and Kashmir were proud of it.
“But sadly there is an unwarranted and extraordinary interference which has limited the functioning of this prestigious bank to a government treasury. This illegal interference has caused immense sufferings to the people especially the farmers, horticulturists, traders, businessmen, hoteliers, restaurant owners, houseboat owners, gold associations, transporters, manufacturers, small, medium and big industrial units and other allied sectors of trade and commerce who are the basic pillars of the economy of Jammu and Kashmir,” Bukhari said.
Bukhari said that Jammu and Kashmir Bank is one of the most iconic institutions nurtured by sons of the soil whose legend in financial matters and contribution in its phenomenal growth was acknowledged by the former Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh and late finance minister Arun Jaitely, at various occasions.
“Regrettably, with unwanted meddling, this Bank has now adopted a bureaucratic approach which is continuing to plague its’ functioning. Hasty declaration of Non-Performing Assets (NPAs), stopping settlement process, halting advances and above all persecution and harassment of its clients are few consequences of an intrusive approach of people at the helms of its affairs. This scenario needs to be changed. More so, if the present dispensation is serious in the revival of the shattered economy of Jammu and Kashmir,” Bukhari observed.
Bukhari said that the RBI had also allowed the banks to go for restructuring and rehabilitation of stress accounts to save them from turning into non-performing assets. “Unfortunately, this has also turned out to be a half-hearted exercise by the J&K Bank. The business community is a worst-hit sector in J&K, and concrete steps are required for revival of this sector,” he advocated.
Bukhari also emphasized on the need to run J&K Bank professionally and all its decisions be taken by the professionals only rather than the bureaucrats who disappointingly don’t see a reason to empathize with the suffering masses of the region.