Khursheed A Ganai

In the year 2015, when a 1982-batch IAS officer Khurshid Ahmad Ganai was overlooked for the post of Chief Secretary, he took premature retirement. Earlier top IAS babu the then incumbent chief secretary Mohammad Iqbal Khandey had done the same thing after he fell from favours of the BJPDP government. In a damage control exercise, the government re-employed Ganai as Chairman, Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), a post declared equivalent in status to the IAS cadre post of Chief Secretary for the period till his term ended. After he assumed the charge, the PDP founder Mufti Muhammad Sayeed lost battle of his life in AIIMS later in January 2016 and the Governor took over the reins of the state. Hunting for the experience hands, N N Vohra, an erstwhile top bureaucrat chose Ganai, along with Parvez Dewan, a 1977-batch IAS officer as his advisors till Mehbooba Mufti took oath as the first woman chief minister of J&K.

Few months later in February 2016, Ganai was appointed as Chief Information Commissioner (CIC) of J&K, a coveted assignment and was administered oath of office by Vohra in March 2017. He succeeded G R Sufi. With more than a year in office as CIC, as Vohra came back as the chief executive of the state following the pullout of BJP from the coalition government, Ganai again was appointed by the governor as his third and the only advisor from J&K.

A resident of Mattan village in South Kashmir, Ganai topped his IAS batch at second rank. A trained mechanical engineer from Birla Institute of Technology and Science (BITS), Pillani, Rajasthan, he graduated from Government Degree College, Islamabad. A meritorious student, he did his Masters in Systems and Management from IIT Delhi. He has also Masters in Business Administration from the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, UK.

Coming from a modest background, as Ganai, son of Baduruddin Ganai and Tota Begum, qualified the prestigious examination in 1982, the entire belt of his area witnessed something impossible; an IAS qualifier. Later in his service career, he held various key positions in J&K and was also part of key department in central government. A recipient of Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister’s Gold Medal for honesty, integrity and meritorious service and his outstanding contribution to the public welfare and development of the state in 2007, Ganai’s first appreciation came in 1986 for excellent work done as Additional deputy commissioner and Director Local Bodies, Jammu.

Ganai who also served as principal secretary to the former chief minister Omar Abdullah was Joint Secretary, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting in New Delhi, besides Resident Commissioner of New Delhi’s Jammu and Kashmir Bhawan. He also headed Kashmir division as commissioner in 2001.

Married to a doctor and having two children, Ganai is son in law of Allah Baksh, a former DIG who passed away in 2012.

As advisor to Vohra for the second time in last three years, Ganai currently holds charge of School Education, Higher Education, Transport, Public Works, PHE & IFC, Revenue, Haj & Auqaf, Technical Education, Agriculture Production, Horticulture/ Floriculture, Animal & Sheep Husbandry, Cooperatives, Tourism, Culture and Social Welfare. Interestingly, however, Ganai has taken this assignment at a time when no other officer was willing.

– Tasavur Mushtaq

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