by Mufti Islah
Srinagar: The Jammu and Kashmir Pollution Control Board has been accused of appointing a junior candidate over two qualified individuals for his political connections.
The board comes under jurisdiction of the forest department that is currently headed by Vijay Kumar, a former top police officer and one of the three advisors of Governor NN Vohra.
The JKPCB has recently appointed Tanveer Ahmad Dar, son-in-law of former state Education Minister Sharif Tariq as Assistant Information Officer. Staffers at JKPCB say this has been done ignoring the seniority and merit of two other colleagues.
While Dar faced no hitch in his confirmation, two others, Shafaat Rasool and Sabiya Mahajan, were not confirmed as Information Officers.
JKPCB officials claim that Dar is an Arts graduate with lesser experience while two of his seniors have a postgraduate degree in Mass Communication and Journalism. Both of them have been working in the department for the past 21 years, of which eight were as IOs. Dar, on the other hand, has lesser years of experience, that too as an ad hoc employee.
“I am a graduate, but senior to them. I have been making films for the past 20 years and attended many National School of Drama workshops. I am a state-approved artiste,” Dar told News18, adding that his father-in-law had no role in his entry into JKPCB.
An official said the pollution control board took pains to approve Dar’s position while confirmation of the two seniors has been stalled for some “vague reasons”.
Rasool and Mahajan were denied confirmation with senior board officials suggesting their case needs cabinet approval because of technical reasons. This, despite the two holding the posts for the past eight years.
In fact, their confirmation cases were okayed by the government last year, but despite the ‘No Objection’, the appointments were stalled.
Sources say Dar was supposed to be regularised on another post as per the draft service rules, but was appointed an AIO last December.
Dar says he has been working at this post for the last eight years and it was only natural that he got the nod from the board.
It is learnt that when the board issued an order to appoint Dar, both Rasool and Mahajan protested.
The two were then told that Dar has been appointed at a junior level while their confirmation proposal for IOs had been sent to the government. ut now the board has shot down the proposal despite a government approval.
Board chairman Siddharth Kumar said the appointment of the two had some technical issues “but we are trying to give them their due”.
“The board did not confirm it this time but we will try to take it up again in our meetings,” Kumar told News18.
Vijay Kumar, advisor to Vohra, who looks after the forest portfolio, could not be contacted.
This incident is likely to irk dozens of Mass Communication degree holders who have pleaded with the government to fill the information and public relations-related posts with candidates qualified for the posts.
“If doctors are not appointed without MBBS, engineers cannot be appointed without an engineering degree, why are information and public relations posts given out as doles based on political connections denying the Mass Communication professionals their due?” a mass communication professional questioned.
(Mufti Islah is JK Bureau Chief for CNN News 18. This report first appeared on News 18)