Winter Secretariat in sleep mode

PEOPLE SUFFER AS MANTRIS, BABUS ‘FORGET’ TO HEAR PUBLIC GRIEVANCES

UMER MAQBOOL

Srinagar, Dec 5: Much to the disappointment of people, the establishment of the much-hyped Winter Secretariat here is proving to be a damp squib as the ministers deputed to the secretariat on rotational basis are just making a symbolic presence there during their weekly turn while rest of the staff often skips duties.
 While the Jammu and Kashmir government is beating the drum of having opened the Winter Secretariat—the practice of posting ministers and officials in the summer capital when the Durbar shifts to Jammu—a visit to the Secretariat reveals that it has become a mere PR exercise of the state government rather than a serious effort to redress the peoples’ grievances.
 This reporter Tuesday visited the winter secretariat. Shockingly, five rooms out of six were locked in the afternoon. Room No 114 of the Additional Secretary, 116 of the Under Secretary, 117 of the staffers, 108 of the Personal Assistant to Minister on duty and 107 of the Minister were shut. Only room number 115 (lower-rung staff) was open, with only a lone employee sitting idle.
 An interaction with people outside revealed that the ministers are just making themselves appear occasionally in the Secretariat on their turns. “Hardly a minister sits here for more than two hours during his/her schedule. The Secretariat is not serving any purpose in absence of ministers.  How can people get their grievances redressed when the Secretariat is completely defunct,” said a group of aggrieved people. “On Monday, a minister turned up here for just 15 minutes and that too at around 3:15 pm.”
 According to sources, although five ministers have been tasked to visit the Secretariat since November 5, only two have taken some review meetings with regard to availability of essential commodities and power supply scenario in the Valley.
 As per a notification of General Administration Department, which has been duly approved by Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, the Minister for Tourism Nawang Rigzin Jora, Minister for Industries and Commerce Surjit Singh Salathia, Minister for Health Sham Lal Sharma, Minister for Consumer Affairs and Public Distribution Qamar Ali Akhoon and Minister for Medical Education RS Chib were deputed to the Secretariat from November 5. But so far the people are not satisfied with their functioning.
 The situation has turned grim to the extent that people have lately stopped visiting the Secretariat, the sources said. “This is due to administrative inefficiency and indifference of the ministers towards public.”
 Pertinently on 25-10-2012, the GAD vide order No 1203- GAD of 2012 posted seven non-gazetted and four class 4th staffers in the Secretariat. Two more staffers were added to the existing strength vide another order.
 “But most of the staffers either remain absent or  leave the office at their will due to lack of supervision and proper monitoring by the GAD,” said the sources.
 Repeated attempts to contact Secretary GAD, Sheikh Mushtaq Ahmad, proved futile as he did not pick up his cell-phone.

Lastupdate on : Wed, 5 Dec 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Wed, 5 Dec 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Thu, 6 Dec 2012 00:00:00 IST




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