KAS officer ensures Job for overaged real brother in KDA out of way

[ May 08, 2017 ] Notwithstanding the fact that successive Govts claimed to be against nepotism, favoritism and undue political pressure from influential having strong hold in Govt, the reality for decades together is every Govt always proffered to engage near and dear ones over highly qualified and efficient candidates. This has also been followed by bureaucrats and other higher officials also. In one such case, Kishori Lal then Chief Executive Officer, Kishtwar Development Authority fraudulently engaged his real brother Santosh Kumar S/o Des Rj Sharma R/o Upper Pochhal, Kishtwar as Junior Assistant in pay Band 5200-20200 with a grade pay of 1900 vide No. CEO/KDA/11/480-481 and 481A Dated 12-09-2011. It deserves mentioning here State Govt constituted J&K Civil Services, special Provision Act 2010 dated 29-04-2010 which says that with effect from the commencement of this act, no appointment shall be made by any department against any post on Adhoc or contractual or consolidated or temporary basis and all the vacant posts shall be filled up strictly in accordance with the rules governing the recruitment to the respective services/posts. Where any appointment is made by any officer contravention to the provision of sub section (1) he shall be liable to disciplinary action under rules and salary drawned by such appointee shall be recoverable from the defaulting officers as arrears as of land revenue. This shows that rules which were already there were not followed and went ahead with the engagement without following any of codal formalitiers. Kishori Lal, Chief Executive Officer, Tourism Development Authority, Kishtwar had been transferred and posted as Additional Deputy Commissioner, Kishtwar in Sep 2, 2015. After spending considerable time as CEO, Kishtwar development Authority, Kishori Lal after getting acquainted with the loop holes in the system, made every effort to ensure welfare of his family members without following any rules and regulations and surprisingly no action was taken against him who speaks of nexus between him and higher officials including the Tourism Minister. Such a huge bungling of funds and misuse of official position was going on since he took over as CEO Kishtwar Development and also despite several RTIs were filed against him but correct information was not given. Kishtwar Development Authority was created in Sept.2005 vide Govt. Order N0.209-TSM of 2005 Dated 17.9.2005 and was constituted in July 2007 .The main objective was to make holistic and integrated development by creating infrastructure in order to tap vast tourist potential of the area in view of lush green meadows, high snow peak mountains and above all taking full advantage of connectivity with district Anantnag of Kashmir valley through Synthen top/valley which can develop into a viable tourist circuit resulting boost of economic activity under Public Private Partnership (PPP) mode in this far-flung and hilly area. Belying Government claims of transparency in appointments in Government departments, it has brought to fore appointment of a Junior Assistant in the office of Kishtwar Development Authority (KDA) in contravention of norms laid for such appointments. Kishtwar Development Authority (KDA) appointed a Junior Assistant in the pay scale of 5200-20200 without issuing an advertisement for inviting the application from the deserving candidates. When CEO, KDA Kishtwar was questioned regarding this, in his reply provided the order No: CEO/KDA/11/480-481-481 A dated 12-04-2011 pertaining to the appointment allegedly on the directions of the Tourism Minister during 2nd meeting of Kishtwar Development Authority held at TRC Jammu on 20-11-2010. While making the appointment order, the CEO KDA Kishtwar also informed the Commissioner Secretary to Government Tourism and Cultural Department and also to Personal Assistance of the concerned Minister by sending them the copies of the order of appointment. Whereas reality is that favoritism, nepotism, misappropriation of funds and sheer misuse of powers in Kishtwar Development Authority is a common as it has been learnt that Chief Executive Officer of KDA made backdoor appointments including that of his real over aged brother as Jr. Assistant in KDA Kishtwar, which was neither advertised nor any other selection procedure was followed by him in making such appointment.KDA has become a money minting machine for the officers and the employees, as it has failed to build the tourist infrastructure at Kishtwar. Chief Executive Officer KDA has disengaged arbitrarily the poor casual labourers to pave way for engagement of his brother at the cost of these casual laborers. Crores of rupees provided to KDA have been misused and on ground not even a single picnic spot has been developed. "The deplorable condition of Chowgan is a glaring example of negligence and non-serious attitude of the KDA. Sub-standard material is being used in all the works by KDA which is evident from the worst ever scenario inside Chowgan due to fitting of flash lights all over around Chowgan which become defunct within months after its installations. Even State Information Commission (SIC) had directed Kishtwar Development Authority (KDA) to allow inspection of its official records by an information seeker who was denied information earlier by KDA under J&K Right to Information Act (RTI).The information seeker sought attested copies of annual Plan of 2012 to till 2014 of Tourism Department, Kishtwar. Applicant also sought detail of works invited for tender’s w.e.f. 2012 to till September 2014 and reference of Advertisement communicated to Director Information, Jammu for wide publicity in local daily newspapers as well as national dailies. Other details sought under RTI were : List of allotments issued during the period w.e.f. 2012 to till date and list of the contractors in competitions of all works allotted plus attested photocopies of allotments work wise, headwise of all developmental activities under the prevailing schemes of the department and Certified copy of estimates, Site Plan, funds allocated, Measurement Book, Completion Certificate for all developmental works executed thereof by the Tourism Department, Kishtwar for the period w.e.f. 2012 to till date. The PIO/Kishtwar Development Authority, Kishtwar vide office No. KDA/2015-16/264 dated: 30.06.2015 submitted before the State Information Commission (SIC) that the applicant had not clearly stated in his RTI application whether the information has to be submitted by the Kishtwar Development Authority or Tourism Department and the applicant was informed vide office No. KDA/2014-15/2095-96 dated: 11.09.2014 to clarify whether the information pertains to Kishtwar Development Authority or the Tourism Department i.e. Director Tourism, Jammu. The PIO further submitted that the applicant approached the Director Tourism; Jammu with the plea that this Authority has not furnished the information sought under the J&K RTI Act, 2009 and requested the Director Tourism, Jammu to take action against the Chief Executive Officer, Kishtwar Development Authority. The Director Tourism, Jammu forwarded the copy of the application in original received from the applicant vide letter No: LDTJH/RTI/4326-27 dated: 06.02.2015. "The records reveal that the information sought by the information seeker was voluminous in nature and it would disproportionately divert the resources of the public authority. It is not manually possible to prepare and compile the information as it requires a lot of manpower whereas the PIO is having only a meager staff in his office. In the given circumstances it would be feasible if the appellant is allowed an opportunity to inspect the record in the office of PIO/Kishtwar Development Authority." reads SIC order of 3rd July 2015.The order further reads as : "In view of aforesaid facts and submissions, the PIO/Kishtwar Development Authority is hereby directed to allow the appellant an opportunity to inspect the record in his office on a working day and provide him certified copies of the relevant documents, if any requested by the information seeker, free of cost. In the light of above facts where impropriety of highest order has been witnessed where also contracts worth crores have been executed without inviting tenders and have been given to blue eyed persons. This KAS officer is so powerful that his tenure so far has been in and around Kishtwar which is surprising and needs thorough inquiry so that transparency and accountability can be ensured and not remains in speeches and books only.