Speaker Directs Govt To Fill Vacancies at ‘Headless’ Backward Class Commission

Saima Bhat

Srinagar – October 5, 2012.

The State Commission for Backward Classes is lying headless from more than 18 months now. The members of legislative assembly on Friday raised the issue following which the LA Speaker, M Akbar Lone, directed the government to take urgent measures so that the vacancies at the commission are filled.

The issue was raised by PDP President Mehbooba Mufti in the legislative assembly on Friday. Presently, 1597 cases are pending disposal with the commission for their inclusion under various backward areas category since 1996. The information revealed by the government stated that in the past four year, a total number of 166 villages/habitations have been notified as backward under SROs 203, 396, 46, 329, 74 and 91.

Ms Mufti had also asked for district wise list to which Speaker ordered the government to come up with the all necessary details in two days. It was also revealed that the commission has insufficient number of members which affects its functioning. The commission, constituted under the Jammu Kashmir State Commission for Backward Classes Act, 1997, was mandated to have five members, including chairman and a government officer to act as Secretary. But for last more than one year, the commission lacks three members and is working with chairman assisted by a secretary.

Earlier this year, in a cabinet meeting, 37 villages were approved to be included in the list of backwards and a nod was also given for the inclusion of Sheer Gojries in the list of communities falling under lower caste.

In another question raised by Yash Paul Kundal, a lawmaker, it was revealed that the commission has often been either without the chairman or falling short of the requisite quorum due to which no proceedings were possible. The information was revealed by the government in response to an un-starred question raised by Kundal in the legislative assembly. The cases pending with the commission include 1008 from different tehsils of Kashmir and 589 from Jammu tehsils.

The government says that it has shown interest from time to time to develop backward and far flung areas of the state and blamed various geographical or natural disadvantages as a hurdle in the plan of development in such areas.

The government handout also states that there was delay in the release of funds in the year 2011-12 and 2012-2013, but the state government said the delay was due to the late reception of funds under the schemes from the central ministries.

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