Minister for Finance and Ladakh Affairs, Abdul Rahim Rather Monday strongly refuted the allegations made by Minister for PHE, Irrigation and Flood Control Sham Lal Sharma against him adding that it is an attempt to mislead the public opinion.
In a statement, he said the people are sagacious enough to see between the lines. “Attempts of polarizing the state on the eve of elections is not advisable at all as it is bound to vitiate the secular atmosphere of the state and create a wedge between the people of two regions.By whipping up passions, Mr. Sharma cannot endear himself to people, who know these attempts were nothing but playing to the galleries,” Rather said and termed the statement of Sharma as totally misconceived and far from truth.
Referring to the regularization of need based and casual laborers, Rather said that a Cabinet-Sub-Committee (CSC) was constituted under his Chairmanship with a mandate to go into the extent/magnitude of the problem relating to casual workers i.e. financial, legal and administrative that may arise with the regularization of such temporary workers and work out an appropriate policy in this regard. The seven member Committee comprises the Minister for Rural Development and Panchayti Raj, Ali Mohammad Sagar, Minister for Medical Education and Youth Services Taj Mohi-u-din, Minister for Urban Development and Urban Local Bodies Rigzin Jora, the Minister for PHE, Irrigation and flood control Shahm-Lal Sharma, the Minister for Planning and Development, Ajay Sadotra and the Minister for Law and Parliamentary Affairs Saif-ullah Mir.
Rather said that a number of meetings were held by the Committee and concerned departments were asked to furnish details regarding such workers and a format was unanimously prescribed by the members of the CSC for the purpose to ascertain genuineness of the cases. “But the departments did not furnish the requisite information as per the prescribed format for a pretty long time. As such the CSC was not in a position to finalize its report in time. The CSC met recently and formulated a policy for regularization of the workers subject to fulfillment of certain conditions. The report of the Committee has been sent to GAD and the role of the CSC ended on submission of the report. Now it is the State Cabinet which has to take a call. Under these circumstances, the question of sabotaging the regularization proposal does not arise at all,” the Finance Minister said.
Referring to the allegation of ‘blackmailing’ leveled by Sharma, he categorically denied of ever asking him (Sharma) to regularize anybody in the departments under his charge. He said he has not got engaged even a single person on need/casual basis in R&B, PHE, Irrigation and Flood Control departments. “So the question of putting pressure for regularization of his favorites does not arise at all. He challenged Mr. Sharma to name any person in this regard,” Rather said.
Regarding another allegation that daily wagers in the past were regularized on regional basis, Rather said that SRO 64 of 1994 was issued during President’s rule in 1994 under which a policy of regularization was laid down. “Around 59,000 daily wagers all over the state applied for regularization under the said SRO, out of which around 56000 D/Ws have already been regularized in accordance with the laid down guide lines which are uniform for the entire state. The remaining D/Ws could not fulfill the formalities till now; as such, regularization orders in their favour could not be issued. So the question of regionalism in this process of regularization does not arise at all. The records in this regard are available for anybody’s scrutiny,” Rather maintained.
He said that his life is an open book and he has never, in his entire life, indulged in regionalism, casteisim or communalism. “It was very sad and unfortunate on the part of Mr. Sharma to level such allegations in his utterances against me. The present collation Govt has been working in close coordination during the last about 6 years but the statement of Mr. Sharma, which is not based on facts, is very unfortunate and uncalled for,” Rather concluded.